chapter  1
14 Pages

The Inman Diary: Some Reflections

Inman had excessively high aspirations for his diary. Professor Aaron tells us that early in the 1920s, when Inman was about 25 years old, he “decided that the only way for him to win fame, perhaps even immortality, would be to write a diary unlike any ever written, an absolutely honest record of himself and his a g e ” (p. 1). Well into the diary, at the end of one of his volumes, Inman states these goals explicitly:

I have striven to portray myself. I have endeavored to give to posterity a true picture of American life and times. I have labored to tum out each entry with the utmost workmanship at my command. I have been honest.... I have held as my inspiration the inexorable judgment of an ideal posterity, the elite among them. It has been my wish to amuse, to instruct, to foster thought, to encourage action, to inspire men of genius to the full stature of their greatness (May 1927, age 32, p. 338).