Narrative Strategies in the Fictive Diary: Reader-Response Theory and the Grossmiths' "The Diary of a Nobody". [abstract].
This paper argues that the English mock-diary emerged definitively in the late-Victorian years, when a flood of pompous, self-regarding diaries and memoirs finally drew the attention of satirists. The best and most enduring example – it has never been out of print – is "The Diary of a Nobody" (1888-9; 1892), by the brothers Grossmith. Apart from being arguably the first fully realised fictive diary of any type in English, the "Diary" has had a strong influence for more than a century not only on 'suburban' fiction generally, but on other popular mock-diaries, from Anita Loos' "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" (1925) to Sue Townsend's "Adrian Mole" series (1982-2004) and Helen Fielding's "Bridget Jones' Diary" (1996). All these authors have paid public tribute to it, and have, implicitly, built on Mr Pooter's defensive opening statement: 'I fail to see – because I do not happen to be a "Somebody" – why my diary should not be interesting.'