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This essay seeks to read Bronislaw Malinowski’s A Diary in the Strict Sense of the Term in literary critical terms, broadly understood. As such, it supplements the psychological, epistemological, and cultural readings already available from historians and theorists like George W. Stocking, Clifford Geertz, James Clifford, and Christina Thompson. The essay considers the diary as a genre, but also as a variety of moral imposition that extracts patterns from experience by virtue of its unique form. As examples, it considers the patterns in Malinowski’s response to landscape and to the literature he read during the Diary’s composition, and how these underpinned his epistemological, ethnographic thinking during the period.