Diaries Through the Eyes of a Woman

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O ne striking example of an editorial change is a noticeably kinder tone towards her mother, with whom it is apparent from her original diary she had a distant and cold relationship. The original one is at times very childish. From a literary point of view this version is the diamond, it is the best of them all.

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It is the one that should be published because it is the one she wanted published. Anne Frank is an icon in Germany, where everyone student reads her diaries in school. We dealt with our history in a very intense way and she made it approachable. This latest publication would probably have never come about had it not been for the work of Laureen Nussbaum, a neighbour of the Franks in Amsterdam who went on to become a professor of literature at Portland State University in the US.

Ms Nussbaum, aged 91 and who can still remember rehearsing a play as a schoolchild with Anne in , worked tirelessly to have the book published as a stand alone text. We urge you to turn off your ad blocker for The Telegraph website so that you can continue to access our quality content in the future. Visit our adblocking instructions page. Telegraph News. We've noticed you're adblocking.

He nervously declined. What Albert says about the diary, which has just come out in a new English translation as part of the authorised Collected Works , is true and important.

The diary takes the reader on a journey with its author. For the first month, before the family goes into hiding, it is the story of a clever, extrovert schoolgirl, who is almost oblivious to the growing threat to Dutch Jews.

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Instead of the war, she is concerned with her own character and reputation. There are wicked descriptions of her schoolmates.


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She reports on how teachers are exasperated by her talkativeness, setting her a series of punishment essays titled A Chatterbox, then An Incorrigible Chatterbox, and finally Quack, quack, quack, said Mistress Chatterback. In response to this last commission, Anne wrote a comic poem about an enraged swan who commits murderous attacks on a set of noisy ducklings. In spite of his better judgment, her teacher admitted it was so good that it had to be read aloud to the class. She remains inventive and sassy, but the pressures of communal living mixed with spells of raw terror at moments of near discovery take their toll.

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Anne feels alienated from her mother and is irritated by Mrs van Pels the mother of the other family. She falls in love with Peter van Pels, although their relationship fails to progress. At the same time she is conscious of the changes in her adolescent body, her sexual feelings, and the sudden mood swings that lead to floods of tears. Amid all this, as the years pass, Anne reads extensively and develops an increasing passion for her writing.

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She composes short stories, comic anecdotes, and begins a novel. Most important, after hearing a radio broadcast from the Dutch government about the need for records of the occupation, Anne started to revise her diary early in in the hope that it might be published.

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She expanded key episodes and deleted others. At times she also inserted reflections on her earlier self. This dialogue between the older and younger Anne is one of the many magical things about the diary. On 22 January , for example, Anne reread her entry for 2 November and wrote on it as follows:.

The diary in its second version became more elevated, with passages on feminism, Jewish identity, and the haunting question of who might come to read the book. One side contains my exuberant cheerfulness, my flippancy, my joy in life and, above all, my ability to appreciate the lighter side of things.

Three days later a squad of German police burst into the annex and arrested its occupants. After a month in the Dutch transit camp of Westerbork, the group was put on the last ever transport to Auschwitz.

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Anne Frank: The Collected Works is a magisterial edition. It gives the Diary in three different versions. Version A is the one that Anne actually wrote on the days themselves: a messy text, with some entries out of date-order, full of comic digressions. Version A was in fact spread across four volumes, only the first of which was a birthday present. There is a missing volume in this sequence, which would have covered the time from 2 May to 22 December It runs uninterrupted from 20 June to March and so gives us the narrative that was lost through the missing volume of Version A.

It is more serious than its predecessor, with a careful chronology charting the progress of the war.


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This version cut the sexual material in the diary and also removed a lot of the criticism that Anne had made of her fellow hideaways. Otto also made some aesthetic changes. He blended and reordered Versions A and B to give the book a more coherent and literary character. Anne did write the famous sentences that are now the opening, but they came further on in Version A and were excluded from Version B.

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The collection, however, contains much more than just the diary. There are beautiful and moving illustrations, which include family photos; closeups of documents; facsimile pages; and a plan of the hidden annex. The Complete Works thus gives a greatly enriched picture, and, as one reads its pages, one cannot help thinking of what Anne might have become.