The Family Life of Ralph Josselin

The purpose of this research is to examine The Family Life of Ralph Josselin, by Alan Macfarlane. The plan of the research will be to set forth an analysis of the subject matter of the book, and then to discuss its strengths, weaknesses, and limitations, as well as its status as a microhistorical document.

What has to be realized about The Family Life of Ralph Josselin is that it represents a scholar's "take" on an individuals life, as revealed through that individuals record of his own life. In other words, what we are looking at in this book is not the direct evidence of a diary but an interpretation of that diary that dwells on what appears to be most significant about it as a historical document. Knowing that the interpretation is going to be paramount, we find it an uncomplicated task to see the value of the book as a slice of history and an exemplar of microhistory. Macfarlane describes the work as an essay in historical anthropology, which is an indication of the interpretative quality of the work and that it will focus less on grand historical events as the core of history than on the people who either experienced such events indirectly or who, involved as they are in their individuated experience of daily life as more or less typical members of their culture,

may--perhaps like the vast majority of the culture, despite the volumes written by professional historians focusing on great events--have been entirely divorced from the supposedly grand scale of experienc



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