Point of departure of this article is a review of a recently published biography of a nineteenth century Frisian man of letters, Lucius Columba Murray Bakker by Rients Faber. A critique of the outdated methodology of this thesis induces the author to an inquiry into some characteristics of the historiography of minority language literatures in general and that of Friesland in particular. The author tentatively concludes that there might be a positive correlation between the often observed comprehensiveness of studies in this field and the way in which minority language literatures are used as a means to preserve the languages in which they are written. The author advocates a form of literary history in which the views on the function of literature are solely object of study and no longer a shared criterium for the evaluation of such a literature. In the case of minority languages this would amongst others imply that a minority language literature which is usually considered to be unilingual can only be fully appreciated if it is considered as a result of the multilingual context in which it has been produced.