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The diary which Samuel Pepys kept from January 1660 to May 1669 ...is one of our greatest historical records and... a major work of English literature, writes the renowned historian Paul Johnson. A witness to the coronation of Charles II, the Great Plague of 1665, and the Great Fire of 1666, Pepys chronicled the events of his day. Originally written in a cryptic shorthand, The diary which Samuel Pepys kept from January 1660 to May 1669 ...is one of our greatest historical records and... a major work of English literature, writes the renowned historian Paul Johnson. A witness to the coronation of Charles II, the Great Plague of 1665, and the Great Fire of 1666, Pepys chronicled the events of his day. Originally written in a cryptic shorthand, Pepys's diary provides an astonishingly frank and diverting account of political intrigues and naval, church, and cultural affairs, as well as a quotidian journal of daily life in London during the Restoration. In 1825, when Pepys's memoirs were first published, Francis Jeffrey of The Edinburgh Review declared, "We can scarcely say that we wish it a page shorter... it is very entertaining thus to be transported into the very heart of a time so long gone by; and to be admitted into the domestic intimacy, as well as the public councils of a man of great activity and circulation in the reign of Charles II." Edited and abridged by literary critic and author Richard Le Gallienne, this edition features an Introduction by Robert Louis Stevenson.


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The diary which Samuel Pepys kept from January 1660 to May 1669 ...is one of our greatest historical records and... a major work of English literature, writes the renowned historian Paul Johnson. A witness to the coronation of Charles II, the Great Plague of 1665, and the Great Fire of 1666, Pepys chronicled the events of his day. Originally written in a cryptic shorthand, The diary which Samuel Pepys kept from January 1660 to May 1669 ...is one of our greatest historical records and... a major work of English literature, writes the renowned historian Paul Johnson. A witness to the coronation of Charles II, the Great Plague of 1665, and the Great Fire of 1666, Pepys chronicled the events of his day. Originally written in a cryptic shorthand, Pepys's diary provides an astonishingly frank and diverting account of political intrigues and naval, church, and cultural affairs, as well as a quotidian journal of daily life in London during the Restoration. In 1825, when Pepys's memoirs were first published, Francis Jeffrey of The Edinburgh Review declared, "We can scarcely say that we wish it a page shorter... it is very entertaining thus to be transported into the very heart of a time so long gone by; and to be admitted into the domestic intimacy, as well as the public councils of a man of great activity and circulation in the reign of Charles II." Edited and abridged by literary critic and author Richard Le Gallienne, this edition features an Introduction by Robert Louis Stevenson.

30 review for The Diary of Samuel Pepys (Modern Library Classics)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Darwin8u

    "...and God forgive me, I do still see that my nature is not to be quite conquered, but will esteem pleasure above all things;" - Samuel Pepys, Diary, 9 March 1666 Loved it. I'm not sure why I didn't rate/review the complete Pepys in 2015. An oversight, obviously. Here are my reviews of the individual books/years in the collection: 1. Vol. I: 1660 - Read October 17, 2015 2. Vol. II: 1661 - Read October 24, 2015 3. Vol. III: 1662 - Read October 30, 2015 4. Vol. IV: 1663 - Read November 5, 2015 5. Vol "...and God forgive me, I do still see that my nature is not to be quite conquered, but will esteem pleasure above all things;" - Samuel Pepys, Diary, 9 March 1666 Loved it. I'm not sure why I didn't rate/review the complete Pepys in 2015. An oversight, obviously. Here are my reviews of the individual books/years in the collection: 1. Vol. I: 1660 - Read October 17, 2015 2. Vol. II: 1661 - Read October 24, 2015 3. Vol. III: 1662 - Read October 30, 2015 4. Vol. IV: 1663 - Read November 5, 2015 5. Vol. V: 1664 - Read November 16, 2015 6. Vol. VI: 1665 - Read November 25, 2015 7. Vol. VII: 1666 - Read December 1, 2015 8. Vol. VIII: 1667 - Read December 13, 2015 9. Vol. IX: 1668-1669 - Read December 24, 2015

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jason Koivu

    Dear Diary, Read this rather interesting book comprised of the diary entries of one Mr. Samuel Pepys. In and of itself, the diary is not altogether engaging. It is however quite interesting for its descriptions of the Great Fire of 1666, which burned down much of London. Aside from that, what I found truly intriguing was the chance to glimpse a man's daily life as he lived it so many hundreds of years ago. A rare thing indeed. Granted Pepys was no ordinary man. He rubbed elbows with royalty, for Dear Diary, Read this rather interesting book comprised of the diary entries of one Mr. Samuel Pepys. In and of itself, the diary is not altogether engaging. It is however quite interesting for its descriptions of the Great Fire of 1666, which burned down much of London. Aside from that, what I found truly intriguing was the chance to glimpse a man's daily life as he lived it so many hundreds of years ago. A rare thing indeed. Granted Pepys was no ordinary man. He rubbed elbows with royalty, for godsake! Even so, Pepys, it turns out, was as real and flawed as any man (man as in male in one specific way...that randy dawg!). The addition of these admissions was like throwing the occasional firecracker in amongst the other somewhat mundane passages. Don't know that I would recommend The Diary of Samuel Pepys to everyone...but then again, diaries aren't written for mass consumption, are they?

  3. 5 out of 5

    Brad

    Neither this nor Anne Frank's diary come anywhere near the diary of that round headed buffoon Karl Pilkington. Compare: Samuel Pepys on the Plague:"It struck me very deep this afternoon going with a hackney coach from my Lord Treasurer's down Holborne, the coachman I found to drive easily and easily, at last stood still, and came down hardly able to stand, and told me that he was suddenly stuck very sick, and almost blind, he could not see. So I 'light and went into another coach with a sad heart Neither this nor Anne Frank's diary come anywhere near the diary of that round headed buffoon Karl Pilkington. Compare: Samuel Pepys on the Plague:"It struck me very deep this afternoon going with a hackney coach from my Lord Treasurer's down Holborne, the coachman I found to drive easily and easily, at last stood still, and came down hardly able to stand, and told me that he was suddenly stuck very sick, and almost blind, he could not see. So I 'light and went into another coach with a sad heart for the poor man and trouble for myself lest he should have been struck with the plague, being at the end of town that I took him up; But God have mercy upon us all!" Anne Frank on Collaboration:"I don't believe that the big men, the politicians and the capitalists alone are guilty of the war. Oh, no, the little man is just as keen, otherwise the people of the world would have risen in revolt long ago! There is an urge and rage in people to destroy, to kill, to murder, and until all mankind, without exception, undergoes a great change, wars will be waged, everything that has been built up, cultivated and grown, will be destroyed and disfigured, after which mankind will have to begin all over again." Karl Pilkington on Babies:"You can be an ugly baby and everyone goes "awww innit nice?" There was some women in a cafe the other week that I was sat in, and she came up and she sat down with her mate and she was talkin' loudly goin' on about "oh the baby's lovely." They said it's got, er, lovely big eyes, er, really big hands and feet. Now that doesn't sound like a nice baby to me. I felt like sayin' it sounds like a frog. But I thought I don't know her, there's only so much you can say to a stranger. I don't know what kept me from sayin' it."I think it is fairly clear which Diary wins the best ever sweepstakes.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Stuart Townsend

    The best diaries ever. This book is so honest its ridiculous - he is a complete cad, but so lovable. He tells it as he sees it, always from his own viewpoint, with such hypocrisy. This is also a hugely comical set of views - possibly the funniest being the diary entries about the pornographic book, which he heartily disapproves of, yet, when no one is around, he sneaks into the book sellers and buys it, with a plain cover, reads it quickly, then burns it, all under the justification of wanting t The best diaries ever. This book is so honest its ridiculous - he is a complete cad, but so lovable. He tells it as he sees it, always from his own viewpoint, with such hypocrisy. This is also a hugely comical set of views - possibly the funniest being the diary entries about the pornographic book, which he heartily disapproves of, yet, when no one is around, he sneaks into the book sellers and buys it, with a plain cover, reads it quickly, then burns it, all under the justification of wanting to know what low-moral people do! I'm not sure I'd have wanted him as a friend, but a few drinks in the bar with him would be a hoot!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lynne King

    I've just been looking at another friend's books and came across this one. I knew about this when I was twenty-two as I was with someone who just loved this work and he used to read it to me. I recall that it was very old-fashioned in its style. Well, of course, it would be as it was written in 1660! Also the detail was remarkable and the most inane statements sounded so interesting. I wonder how I would like it now? Did I just love it because the individual concerned, who read it to me, was such I've just been looking at another friend's books and came across this one. I knew about this when I was twenty-two as I was with someone who just loved this work and he used to read it to me. I recall that it was very old-fashioned in its style. Well, of course, it would be as it was written in 1660! Also the detail was remarkable and the most inane statements sounded so interesting. I wonder how I would like it now? Did I just love it because the individual concerned, who read it to me, was such a wonderful raconteur?

  6. 4 out of 5

    ddjiii

    There's a reason why this simple book, just a guys's diary from the late 1600's, is one of the classics of world literature. More than almost any other book I can think of, Pepys really gives you a powerful feeling of what it would be like to live in another time. His accounts of his everyday life are tremendously evocative, and even though he had good material (the great London fire, the Glorious Revolution, war with the Dutch) it's his description of hanging out in coffeehouses playing madriga There's a reason why this simple book, just a guys's diary from the late 1600's, is one of the classics of world literature. More than almost any other book I can think of, Pepys really gives you a powerful feeling of what it would be like to live in another time. His accounts of his everyday life are tremendously evocative, and even though he had good material (the great London fire, the Glorious Revolution, war with the Dutch) it's his description of hanging out in coffeehouses playing madrigals, his complaints about his wife and his gallstones, his petty political career ("ran into the King in the park today" - London apparently wasn't a big town then...) that stay with you. Highly recommended.

  7. 4 out of 5

    David K. Glidden

    Pepys diary is always an insight into the lives of the wealthy and well connected. And this abridged volume has a brilliant introduction by Robert Louis Stevenson. But I read Pepys again now for his diary entries of the London plague of 1665 and the London Fire of 1666. The former was informative, while the entries on the Fire were fairly superficial though worth reading.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tyler

    I found this book surprisingly readable for a diary. Pepys' attention to detail, and accessible writing style kept me entertained as I learned about a period in history that I wasn't very well acquainted with before this. I loved the detail that he buried his Parmesan in the back yard before fleeing his house during the great fire of London. In fact, Pepys' attention to detail is part of what makes this book such a good read, and a wealth of information for historians. His description of seeing I found this book surprisingly readable for a diary. Pepys' attention to detail, and accessible writing style kept me entertained as I learned about a period in history that I wasn't very well acquainted with before this. I loved the detail that he buried his Parmesan in the back yard before fleeing his house during the great fire of London. In fact, Pepys' attention to detail is part of what makes this book such a good read, and a wealth of information for historians. His description of seeing people and pigeons waiting too long to feel their houses is heart-wrenching. I read this book in audiobook format.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Petra-X

    Better than I thought it would be. Not the endless, wordy school-stuff of Dickens. Pepys was an interesting man in interesting times who thought very highly of himself and his financial and sexual prowess.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Marks54

    When the Pepys Diary is read, it is most often in the form of an abridged selection of highly interesting passages. That is OK, since the unabridged diary is long (10 years, 1,000,000 words) and consists of numerous stretches where not much seems to happen. But reading abridged highlights begs the question of how this work of daily short entries by a 27 year old junior bureaucrat in Restoration England come to be one of the primary sources for the details of daily life at that time and one of th When the Pepys Diary is read, it is most often in the form of an abridged selection of highly interesting passages. That is OK, since the unabridged diary is long (10 years, 1,000,000 words) and consists of numerous stretches where not much seems to happen. But reading abridged highlights begs the question of how this work of daily short entries by a 27 year old junior bureaucrat in Restoration England come to be one of the primary sources for the details of daily life at that time and one of the most famous diaries ever. With this in mind, I had recently finished Peter Ackroyd's history of the Civil War and the Restoration and wanted to build on that by reading two of the great texts produced during that period - Leviathan and the Pepys Diary. I completed Leviathan recently and so turned from Hobbes to Pepys. Why is the Diary so memorable? To start with, Pepys lived in interesting times. The Civil War had ended and Charles II was reclaiming his throne - and some scores were going to be settled. Life goes on, of course, and other events intervene. In the span of little more than a year, Pepys is a direct witness to: the Bubonic Plague, a war with the Dutch that does not end well, and the Great Fire of London. In the midst of this, Pepys keeps score and notes how lots of people die, lots of property is lost, and many reputations and fortunes are ruined. What would anyone feel like having to go to work is such circumstances? Pepys is a clerk in the Navy Office and seems adept at keeping accounts and crafting persuasive common sense explanations. He keeps his head down about politics and tries to maintain loyalty for his patron, Lord Sandwich. He is prudent, however, and will faithfully provide support until circumstances change. This is the orientation that starts Pepys on his way to the bureaucratic/administrative hall of fame - be competent, but don't make waves and don't back losers. He would be at home in 21st century Chicago. Pepys also knows how to network. He travels throughout the London area by coach or barge and appears to know everyone who matters. He also has a good memory for past favors and skeleton burial sites. This networking takes him to plays and concerts on a continuing basis - several are seen multiple times. It is sometimes hard to know what to make of this cultural immersion, since it does not translate into the best of writing styles in the Diary. Pepys is highly curious of science and invention and would hang with the venture capitalists today. In his day, it was the Royal Society of which he was a key member. When he writes about his work, there is much to think about regarding the redesign of the Navy, the efficient operation of the administrative apparatus, and the maintenance of good relations with governance bodies. For one example, trying to piece together Pepys' position on corruption is intriguing. On the one hand, he wanted to clear up past abuses and standardize practice to ensure that the interests of the King were served. On the other hand, he was not averse to what we would call today "facilitating payments" and even notes how he looks the other way when opening some mail so that he can truthfully claim to have not seen the money in that mail. The tensions and issues are largely the same as they are today regarding governance and ethics, even if the institutional situations have changed. Pepys's behaviors towards women would be frowned upon today and would likely land him in disgrace and jail. He is a serial adulterer, sexual harasser, and not a very nice person to ride with in a dark coach if you are an attractive female (married or unmarried). He records many of his conquests to a degree that would be unthinkable today, outside of a police drama on TV. He also seems to fight with his wife on a fairly continual basis. Despite him frequently behaving like a lousy person (literally towards the end), he is also high educated and an intense reader whose library was donated to Cambridge after his death. Finally, at many points during the diary I was led to reflect how how different Restoration London was from what I am used to today. There isnNo electricity or electric lights. There is no inside plumbing and little suggestion that frequent bathing is common. The urban infrastructure that we take for granted did not exist. Life expectancies must have been about half of what they are today. In such conditions, it is fascinating to see how a thirty year college grad, who today would be pursuing additional grad school or following a partnership tournament at some firm, ended up being one of the founder of modern administration and a principal witness to the building of modern England. This only scratches the surface of this rich book, although I will admit it is a bit long. I think I am going to start the recent Pepys bio by Claire Tomalin to fill in the holes but it was good to start with the book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ron

    Finished at last. 2561 pages. Samuel Pepys recorded his private thoughts (in shorthand and occasionally code) from 1660, months before the Restoration of Charles II to 1669, when failing eyes rendered the effort impossible. During that time, Pepys rose from being a minor functionary of Sir Edward Montagu [later Earl of Sandwich] to a bureaucratic force in the English Navy. Along the way he records his very human reaction to the Restoration, the Great Plague, the London Fire--he reported what we Finished at last. 2561 pages. Samuel Pepys recorded his private thoughts (in shorthand and occasionally code) from 1660, months before the Restoration of Charles II to 1669, when failing eyes rendered the effort impossible. During that time, Pepys rose from being a minor functionary of Sir Edward Montagu [later Earl of Sandwich] to a bureaucratic force in the English Navy. Along the way he records his very human reaction to the Restoration, the Great Plague, the London Fire--he reported what we would recognize as Post Traumatic Shock Syndrome months after the fire--and the loss of a war with the Dutch. He was a great reader, book collector, observer and writer. (Undoubtedly, a candidate for GoodReads membership.) Most striking were his activities and observations. A believer, he made written vows of activities to be avoided, then did them--and recorded his failure, his paying the forfeit, and his intention to not stray again. Despite early proof that a life of going to plays and over drinking was not just bad but dangerous (Pepys underwent bladder stone surgery in 1657, without anesthetic remember, and was seldom without pain thereafter), Pepys lived the good life. In the later years he averaged a play a day. He was insanely jealous of his wife, yet he indulged in multiple affairs. He decried the waste of the regime, but kept on the cutting edge of fashion--whether it be periwigs, waistcoats, interior decorating or coaches. (The reading is repetitive and obscure but vivid.) His epigrams indicate how little has changed in the last 350 years."The whole world is at work blaming one another." "Treachery? I could wish … but we are ruined by folly and neglect." "There is nothing like silence; it become seldom any wrong to a man to say nothing." "How much greater the number of Councilors … is the more confused is of their council." "He that will not stop for a pin, will never be worth a pound." "…which is to shut the door after the horse is stole." "[to be a] beggar [is] a just judgment upon people that do like to live so much beyond themselves in housekeeping and vanity." "As she brews, let her bake." "…the end for which we live, to have such a merry day once or twice in a man's life." Samuel Pepys had more than a few merry days mixed in with his folly and neglect. The language is difficult, but partly offset by the helpful, but quaint explanatory notes of 1896. He has been my companion for many months. I'll miss him. A very good read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lady Mayfair

    I’ve taken the plunge and started this big boy. I shall read it in one-go, preferably adding notes of personal interest here after each volume partition, as proper reviews would be quite superfluous. Volume I: 1660, read 10th March 2020- 23d March 2020 and reviewed here. Volume II: 1661, read 12th April 2020- 20th April 2020 and reviewed here. Volume III: 1662, read 20th May 2020 - 5th June 2020 and reviewed here. Volume IV: 1663, read 7th July- 23d July 2020 and reviewed here. Volume V: 1664, read 1 I’ve taken the plunge and started this big boy. I shall read it in one-go, preferably adding notes of personal interest here after each volume partition, as proper reviews would be quite superfluous. Volume I: 1660, read 10th March 2020- 23d March 2020 and reviewed here. Volume II: 1661, read 12th April 2020- 20th April 2020 and reviewed here. Volume III: 1662, read 20th May 2020 - 5th June 2020 and reviewed here. Volume IV: 1663, read 7th July- 23d July 2020 and reviewed here. Volume V: 1664, read 12th August- 26th August 2020 and reviewed here.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Bob Schnell

    If Samuel Pepys knew when he was writing his private journal that people 400 years in the future would be reading it, would he have been so revealing? Did he really want future generations to know of his fondness (and shame) for dirty books, wine and fondling women's breasts? Probably not, but thank goodness he didn't edit himself because his diary really brings a human element to history, specifically late 17th century Britain. It is one thing to learn in a textbook of the plague or a city ravag If Samuel Pepys knew when he was writing his private journal that people 400 years in the future would be reading it, would he have been so revealing? Did he really want future generations to know of his fondness (and shame) for dirty books, wine and fondling women's breasts? Probably not, but thank goodness he didn't edit himself because his diary really brings a human element to history, specifically late 17th century Britain. It is one thing to learn in a textbook of the plague or a city ravaged by fire, and quite another to see it through the eyes of someone who was there. We learn from Mr. Pepys how news was spread by word of mouth (often erroneously), how much items cost, what the theater was like when Shakespeare was still new and how people reacted to crises. We also feel his shame, pride, lust and despair through his various actions and responses to the events happening around him. In all, we get to know him, his city and his time better than any professor or history text could teach.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    I read this delicious (although some might call tediously boring) diary during my maternity leave with my first born son. It allows you to be a fly on the wall during the 17th Century London, complete with a wacky guy telling his story. His details of expenses for household items is really interesting, as his views of women. What fun!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Grace Tierney

    I read this book for three reasons. It's on the 501 books to read before you die list (which I'm using as a reading list), it's a diary which is format I enjoy, the 1660s are an interesting period of English history, especially in London. However, I didn't realise how long it was until I spotted a hardback set (I read in ebook format) and realised it's a three volume set. It took me a couple of months to read, reading nearly everyday except for one week. So, was it worth the effort? Yes. I can see I read this book for three reasons. It's on the 501 books to read before you die list (which I'm using as a reading list), it's a diary which is format I enjoy, the 1660s are an interesting period of English history, especially in London. However, I didn't realise how long it was until I spotted a hardback set (I read in ebook format) and realised it's a three volume set. It took me a couple of months to read, reading nearly everyday except for one week. So, was it worth the effort? Yes. I can see how it's vital for researchers of the period as he name drops constantly and gives great detail. He moved in pretty high society and was close to many key events - restoration of Charles II after Cromwell and the Roundheads, great fire of London, naval battles with the Dutch, French, Algerians and the moors. I loved the more domestic details of his life with his wife, his career ambitions, his friends. I loved the little bits of science too as he was a member of the royal institute and friends with Robert Boyle (Boyle's Law). Having spent the last two months in his company (ten years in his case) I will miss Samuel and will take myself to Wikipedia to find out how he fared after his failing eyesight (at age 37 and before reading glasses had been invented) forced him to stop keeping a diary. Was every entry enthralling? No, but this diary is rarely boring and is certainly rare enough to merit the attention of anyone interested in history.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Hol

    This was one of my happiest-ever reading experiences. I drew it out over several months, taking a break before the last fifty pages and after various big events--the Plague, the Great Fire. But even there, the most personal observations were the most vivid to me: now when I see a reference to the Fire of London I will picture Pepys on hands and knees in his backyard, burying his "Parmasan" cheese and bottled wines before taking flight from the city. The edition I read was the first one published This was one of my happiest-ever reading experiences. I drew it out over several months, taking a break before the last fifty pages and after various big events--the Plague, the Great Fire. But even there, the most personal observations were the most vivid to me: now when I see a reference to the Fire of London I will picture Pepys on hands and knees in his backyard, burying his "Parmasan" cheese and bottled wines before taking flight from the city. The edition I read was the first one published (in 1825). At 800+ pages, it includes about a quarter of the complete diary but omits any reference to Pepys's many extramarital liaisons and uses footnotes only for the life dates and genealogy of people mentioned in the entries. So I know I am missing out on some aspects of the original and may eventually seek out an alternative edition. I was sorry when this one ended.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Deborah Edwards

    As a meticulously kept historical account of its time, the diary is incomparably valuable, but as a record of its author's vanity, greed, snobbery, misogyny, philandering, and ridiculousness, it is priceless! This would be a guilty pleasure were it not for the fact that Pepys had a front row seat for most of the political and newsworthy events of the day. If only every diary were as historically and psychologically intriguing.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Bettie

    Dancing to the diary of Samuel Pepys – in pictures Dancing to the diary of Samuel Pepys – in pictures

  19. 5 out of 5

    Avril

    Samuel Pepys sexually assaulted every woman he could - and wrote about his attempts in his diary, though he did put them into a code of French, Spanish and Italian words. When his wife caught him fondling one of their servants and sent her away, Pepys wrote that he wished he could take ‘her maidenhead’ and in fact tried to arrange meetings with her, despite the fact that his wife refused to allow him to roam London alone and did her best to make sure he was always accompanied. He’s just dreadful Samuel Pepys sexually assaulted every woman he could - and wrote about his attempts in his diary, though he did put them into a code of French, Spanish and Italian words. When his wife caught him fondling one of their servants and sent her away, Pepys wrote that he wished he could take ‘her maidenhead’ and in fact tried to arrange meetings with her, despite the fact that his wife refused to allow him to roam London alone and did her best to make sure he was always accompanied. He’s just dreadful, and yet after reading over 1000 pages of his diary I feel a great deal of affection for him. If he lived today I’d want him to be arrested and imprisoned, but I never wanted to put his diary down in disgust. I can’t explain it. Maybe it’s because reading the diary I have been forced to see the world through his eyes? At any rate, I’ve had so much fun reading it.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    Unique among primary historical sources (at least that I've found) insofar as it covers an entire decade in fine detail, and then it has the added bonus of being (1) extremely candid, because it was written in cryptographic shorthand, (2) historically interesting, insofar as Pepys was a high government official, (3) legitimately well-written, and finally (4) the author himself is both intentionally and unintentionally hilarious, and his life is quite entertaining. The most curious thing is that Unique among primary historical sources (at least that I've found) insofar as it covers an entire decade in fine detail, and then it has the added bonus of being (1) extremely candid, because it was written in cryptographic shorthand, (2) historically interesting, insofar as Pepys was a high government official, (3) legitimately well-written, and finally (4) the author himself is both intentionally and unintentionally hilarious, and his life is quite entertaining. The most curious thing is that his concerns are, ultimately, very similar to those encountered by the average married man in his late twenties and early thirties (even today) ... trying to balance home life and work life, perplexed about how to discipline his son, working through minor marital issues, getting back on the wagon in terms of quitting alcohol/partying, etc. Except Pepys is also a massive cad, lol.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rex Libris

    Finally got through with this! It about 3000 pages long, seemed a lot longer. I think this is the longest it ever took me to get through a book, almost 3.5 months. But it was worth it, it was quite the interest work. We get an eyewitness view of the Restoration, the attack of the Plague in London, the Great Fire, and war with the Dutch. We also get a glimpse int othe shenanigans of the royal gentry and Pepys himself.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lisa of Hopewell

    Ok, this is how I read sometimes. Had to put Pepys down and get volume 2 of Churchill's History of the English Speaking People to get some background on what was going on politically. Surprisingly fun and often witty. Lots of "some things NEVER change"

  23. 5 out of 5

    Anita Hargreaves

    This book I will keep for life, fascinating

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ervin Vice

    I’ve been dipping into the Diary of Samuel Pepys for years. It’s ideal for the compulsive reader who is often too distracted and preoccupied to stick with a book from cover to cover. That would be me. How fortunate it is that so many of the entries can be read in just a few minutes, and then possess and enthrall me for the next couple of hours - or days or years. Some scenes will always stick in my mind. There was the time Pepys examined the corpse of a sailor who’d been hanged for a robbery. He I’ve been dipping into the Diary of Samuel Pepys for years. It’s ideal for the compulsive reader who is often too distracted and preoccupied to stick with a book from cover to cover. That would be me. How fortunate it is that so many of the entries can be read in just a few minutes, and then possess and enthrall me for the next couple of hours - or days or years. Some scenes will always stick in my mind. There was the time Pepys examined the corpse of a sailor who’d been hanged for a robbery. He wondered if he’d died instantly or lingered at the end of the rope some time before death overtook him. In the midst of what came to be known as the Great Plague of London, Pepys was riding a hackney (coach) across town and, before they’d reached their destination, the driver came to a stop, saying he’d suddenly been taken ill. Both fearful and ashamed, Pepys hastily switched to another coach. Most moving of all, to me, was the entry recounting a night during the Great Fire of London (so many “great” disasters in London within a few short years!). Pepys spotted a bird flying around her burning nest, where her chicks were being consumed by the flames. Only when the flames were about to set her own wings alight did she abandon all hope and fly away. This shouldn’t lead you to believe that the diary is all about death and destruction. There is plenty of humor in it as well. I remember laughing out loud at one entry. One of his wife Elizabeth’s fiends, Winifred Gosnell, was a fine dancer and apparently very attractive. Pepys had a roving eye, and he clearly indicated that Gosnell struck his fancy (“I shall take great delight in her”). Elizabeth might have suspected as much. One evening she happened to mention to him that he seemed to be spending more time at home lately. The very next words were these: “I went to the office and there I sat till late”. Ouch.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Edgar

    I forget how many years ago I bought the abridged version of the diary, in a bookshop in the centre of Brisbane. I’ve read it in snatches over the years between reading other works - it’s not a book you would read in one go. It is, as everyone knows, an important historical document covering major political and other events during the Restoration period, from 1660 to 1669. What a pity Pepys eyesight failed him as in another ten years he would have covered the Popish Plot and the rise and fall of I forget how many years ago I bought the abridged version of the diary, in a bookshop in the centre of Brisbane. I’ve read it in snatches over the years between reading other works - it’s not a book you would read in one go. It is, as everyone knows, an important historical document covering major political and other events during the Restoration period, from 1660 to 1669. What a pity Pepys eyesight failed him as in another ten years he would have covered the Popish Plot and the rise and fall of James 11. Pepys found himself imprisoned in the Tower for awhile then because of his close association with James, who as Duke of York, headed the navy while Pepys was in effect the chief naval bureaucrat. Over the period covered by his diary, Pepys had a bird’s eye view of the happenings at the very seat of power, from the beginning when he accompanied his patron, Edward Mountagu, later Lord Sandwich, to Holland to bring back Charles 11 to ascend the throne. What makes this diary unique, apart from its historical importance, is its honesty. There are many diaries and autobiographies of important persons, then and since. But almost all rewrite history in a way so as to present themselves in a fairer light than warranted, and therein lies their flaw. With Pepys we get a true picture of the man, warts and all. Whilst this may turn off some people, eg, feminists today, for most people, it paradoxically makes the man more endearing. And this includes the female write, Claire Tomalin, This despite Tomalin, in her excellent biography of Pepys, unearthing more proof of his irascibility. Her detective work revealed that Pepys granted certain people favours regarding employment or naval supply contracts in return for their spouses becoming mistresses to Pepys. Pepys often refers to his personal accounts, and his wealth accumulates considerably over time. It is clear that he gains personally from certain naval contracts, and from his involvement in running the affairs of the Tangiers territory, then in British hands. This would clearly be seen as corruption in today’s world. Even then he had to be careful of parliamentary oversight. But by standards then, it seems acceptable as he didn't overstep the mark (unlike Sandwich who got banished for grabbing too much naval booty). And more importantly his reforms of the navy resulted in the elimination of many corrupt practices. Why did Pepys write such a diary? I guess it’s the same reason why anyone keeps a personal diary. But a diary so meticulous reveals Pepy’s above all as the man of 'method' and order. Did he have an eye to posterity at all? Probably not. But why does he break into code language when describing some intimate happenings? Maybe just for safety sake should his diaries be discovered. And so to bed !

  26. 4 out of 5

    Peter Tillman

    Notes and progress (not a review, yet, if ever) I downloaded a PD copy from Amazon. At first glance, the Gutenberg version may be easier reading: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/4171 (incomplete, see below) --but Amazon's version starts in 1659/60, and Gutenberg's in 1666. Both of these are based on the old, bowdlerized editions, as Claire Tomalin notes. Comments from others who have read the Pepys diary are most welcome! Ah, it looks like Wikipedia has an unexpurgated copy of the diary: https://en.w Notes and progress (not a review, yet, if ever) I downloaded a PD copy from Amazon. At first glance, the Gutenberg version may be easier reading: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/4171 (incomplete, see below) --but Amazon's version starts in 1659/60, and Gutenberg's in 1666. Both of these are based on the old, bowdlerized editions, as Claire Tomalin notes. Comments from others who have read the Pepys diary are most welcome! Ah, it looks like Wikipedia has an unexpurgated copy of the diary: https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Diary_... So that's the way to go. Not really unexpurgated, but at least the censored sections are noted in the text. And this page, https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Wikiso... , links two more online versions of the text I have Claire Tomalin's Pepys biography out, and am finding it tough going: all these names of unknown people, and a period of history I know little about. Plus, the book is due back next week. So I'll have a go at the diary itself, and perhaps get back to Tomalin later.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Miriam

    This diary is both an incredibly important historical document and proof that the author was a huge weirdo. He's obsessed with his conquests, but doesn't seem to be at all good at seduction, and it also super prudish about sex. His relationship with his wife reads like the stereotypical sitcom wife / sitcom husband dynamic, with constant ups and downs, him beating her, her finding him in delicto flagranti with another woman, and then going back to being the best of friends the same day. What's r This diary is both an incredibly important historical document and proof that the author was a huge weirdo. He's obsessed with his conquests, but doesn't seem to be at all good at seduction, and it also super prudish about sex. His relationship with his wife reads like the stereotypical sitcom wife / sitcom husband dynamic, with constant ups and downs, him beating her, her finding him in delicto flagranti with another woman, and then going back to being the best of friends the same day. What's really worth it about this diary is his description of the Great Fire of London in 1666. It's amazing to read an eye-witness account and see through his eyes how to fire spread inexorably, to the point where Pepys sends his wife and his money into the country, but stays in London to witness events himself.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    I'm not ambitious enough to have read the complete Diary (how many thousands of pages?), but I read this abridgement through and sampled extensively in another (Kindle) abridgement and the (also Kindle) complete. Finding the best parts, or even putting the entries into proper context, is very hard with either of the abridgements I tried. I did make extensive use of the excellent pepysdiary.com which gives monthly summaries, lots of commentary and many other resources to help one navigate. The mo I'm not ambitious enough to have read the complete Diary (how many thousands of pages?), but I read this abridgement through and sampled extensively in another (Kindle) abridgement and the (also Kindle) complete. Finding the best parts, or even putting the entries into proper context, is very hard with either of the abridgements I tried. I did make extensive use of the excellent pepysdiary.com which gives monthly summaries, lots of commentary and many other resources to help one navigate. The monthly summaries in particular can help hone in on the entries of greatest interest. Considering how mundane (boring) so much of the Diary is, reading selectively was a great help.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Elaine

    Quite a fascinating peek into the life of a man in the 1660s. Some of the things he choose to write about resonate deeply with about any person of contemporary times even if the setting and subject are different. Makes me want to write a diary for people to read 400 years from now.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Martin

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I had often heard the term ‘Restoration’ used as a pejorative, but after reading Pepys I realize that it was an amazing period of rebirth and was the beginning of the modern age. The decade described by Pepys would have been remarkable on its own, but he gilds the age with his own sophistication and humanity. I’m glad that I did not have to read this when I was in high school or college. I would have understood historical importance but would have missed Pepys’ milieu entirely. This is a diary b I had often heard the term ‘Restoration’ used as a pejorative, but after reading Pepys I realize that it was an amazing period of rebirth and was the beginning of the modern age. The decade described by Pepys would have been remarkable on its own, but he gilds the age with his own sophistication and humanity. I’m glad that I did not have to read this when I was in high school or college. I would have understood historical importance but would have missed Pepys’ milieu entirely. This is a diary begun by a late twentysomething, educated and urban, who is at the beginning of a successful career. The events he records are immediately recognizable to a modern reader. He marvels at the crudity of past technology, such as the horrible, rough paper and ghastly penmanship in Mary Stuart’s time. He is ambivalent about being married but he tries to keep his wife satisfied. However, extramarital dalliances do happen, as Pepys is a man who appreciates all that the world has to offer. He has a strong moral compass but is aware that he cannot fight the allure of women or music. In his twenties Pepys documented drinking and playing music with friends (occasionally nursing a hangover afterwards), theatergoing (where he sees for the first time an actress onstage) and seeing for the first time many plays which had been banned during the Commonwealth. He calls A Midsummer Night’s Dream “the most insipid, ridiculous play that ever I saw in my life.” Pepys believes that if he were to follow the lead of most men and worry about getting his estate in order before submitting to the pleasures of the world, he would be too old to get any real enjoyment out of wine, women and song. Instead he must constantly weigh any possible dalliance against whether his wife would find out or if the woman would be too virtuous to accept any of his advances. Married life includes laughing together at a poorly written biography of the queen, exchanging Valentine’s Day presents with another couple, talking about finances before going to sleep, firing a maid who takes umbrage at any slightest direction, and worrying about how his wife will get along with his family during trips to the country. He muses at a joyful wedding ceremony on Christmas day, noting it is “strange to see what delight we married people have to see these poor fools decoyed into our condition.” Pepys’ account of the Great Plague is exceeds its reputation. At the onset, each passing day becomes less ordinary as the sickness eventually encompasses every part of life. Pepys hears that 9 people died in his parish during the first week, but soon that number will be in the thousands. He becomes concerned about riding in carriages for fear of plague from the previous passengers or the coachman himself. All conversation on the street is consumed with talk of death. He becomes even more conscientious at work, leaving no tasks unfinished in case he should never return. He draws up a will. The streets become deserted and grass starts to grow in certain streets. No boats are seen at all. Pepys’ own physician dies. As the plague subsides he wonders what will become of the fashion of periwigs, as no one will buy anything that could possibly have been cut off the heads of dead people. Great tragedies unfold in a similar manner to today. Normal life gets interrupted by a sudden sense of urgency and danger, and one always remembers who breaks the horrible news to them. The maids were up late working on a project and became aware of the Great Fire around 3am. Pepys is not concerned until later that morning when it still has not been extinguished. Within days the city has gone mad, as Pepys notes the roar of the flames and the loud cracking of houses succumbing. He gathers all his gold coins to usher away, puts his paper money and other important documents in an iron box and buries it in the back yard. The following day he and his neighbor dig a greater hole and bury their combined stores of wine and Pepys’ parmesean cheese (my favorite detail of the fire). As happens in disasters today, there were not enough ordinary supplies to replace what was abandoned. Pepys finds himself staying at William Penn’s but lacking a change of shirts, gloves, or nightclothes and has to sleep in just his underwear for the first time. When it is all over, he is angry with the nobility who offer neither support for the king nor resources for the poor or dispossessed. Conspiracy theories abound that the fires were intentional to clear out the poor or reclaim prime real estate. It is touching to read about his career advancing and his noticing that he is being treated better in the world. He becomes known as a great orator and counsels some of the biggest names in the government. I wish that the diary had continued for one more year. Pepys’ wife died six months after he stopped writing in the diary and I would like to know how he dealt with the loss. The final third of the diary drags. As literature it suffers from peaking in the middle of the story with double whammy of the Plague and the Fire.

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