Reading the Early Modern Diary traces the historical genealogy, formal characteristics, and shifting cultural uses of the early modern English diary. It explores the possibilities and limitations the genre held for the self-expression of a writer at a time which considerably pre-dated the Romantic cult of the individual self. The book analyzes the connections between genre and self-articulation: How could the diary come to be associated with emotional self-expression given the tedium and repetitiveness of its early seventeenth-century ancestors? How did what were once mere lists of daily events evolve into narrative representations of inner emotions? What did it mean to write on a daily basis, when the proper use of time was a heavily contested issue? Reading the Early Modern Diary addresses these questions and develops new theoretical frameworks for discussing interiority and affect in early modern autobiographical texts.