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How did individuals write about their lives before a modern tradition of diaries and autobiographies was established? Adam Smyth examines the kinds of texts that sixteenth- or seventeenth-century individuals produced to register their life, in the absence of these later, dominant templates. The book explores how readers responded to, and improvised with, four forms - the almanac, the financial account, the commonplace book and the parish register - to create written records of their lives. Early modern autobiography took place across these varied forms, often through a lengthy process of transmission and revision of written documents. This book brings a dynamic, surprising culture of life-writing to light, and will be of interest to anyone studying autobiography or early modern literature.