To begin one's reading of Bashkirtseff's diary with the 1884 preface, as both the Theuriet edition and the Cercle des amis de Marie Bashkirtseff edition invite us to do, is to be immediately alerted to the problems associated with securing readership of one's personal diary when one is a jeune fille with no particular claim to fame. Bashkirtseff knows that even before she has openly enunciated her desire to be read, the very act of penning a preface to her journal intime is likely to detract from the interest that her personal diary might otherwise have held for the late nineteenth-century reader, had she allowed it to be stumbled across in an attic, or published and prefaced by a grief-stricken family member. Aware that even as she swears that what follows is the whole truth and nothing but, the very performance of such pacts is likely to undermine the purpose of their passing, Bashkirtseff foregrounds this awareness, giving her dilemma to be read, and making of the preface the site of its own problematization. However, if she thus points to the preface itself as something of a paradox, she also implies that there is a story behind the coming into existence of this paradox. Taking her cue from Goncourt's prurient interest in that period in a young woman's life when she passes from the unawareness and asexuality of childhood to the beginnings of womanhood, Bashkirtseff casts her desire to be read in terms of the same 'before and after' narrative framework upon which Goncourt's tale of burgeoning womanhood relies. 'D'abord' [At first] she asserts, she wrote her diary without dreaming that it might be read; 'ensuite' [then] she did indeed desire readership, but precisely because she did so was all the more careful to cultivate sincerity. Bashkirtseff thus appeals to the sort of readerly curiosity and desire cultivated by Goncourt's preface to La Faustin but redirects it, focusing it not on the story she tells but on what happens in the telling of it. What we are to track as story in the carnets that follow are the circumstances that brought Bashkirtseff to the point of staking a desire for immortality on the publication of her personal diary. It is, she implies, the story of the preface's coming into existence that we are to read. If Goncourt would have us read the jeune fille as a creature in flux, subject to the first flutterings of a desire that as yet she is unable to name, and therefore neither child nor woman, Bashkirtseff would have us read her diary as a text in flux: somewhere between daily ablution and the textual equivalent of a dressing room on the one hand, and worthy public reading matter on the other. Whereas flux was, for Goncourt's jeune fille, of the order of the physiological and psychological, it is, in Bashkirtseff's case, to be of the order of the generic.