The Diary of Samuel Pepys Hardcover – Large Print, Aug 20 2008
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‘Let Pepys’ Diary fall open at almost any page at random and he is joyously and compulsively quotable.’
From the Inside Flap
Richard Le Gallienne's elegant abridgment of the "Diary captures the essential writings of Samuel Pepys (1633-1703), a remarkable man who witnessed the coronation of Charles II, the Great Plague of 1665, and the Great Fire of 1666. Originally scribbled in a cryptic shorthand, Pepys's quotidian journal of life in Restoration London provides an astonishingly frank and diverting account of political intrigues; naval, church, and cultural affairs; and the sexual escapades and domestic strife of a man with a voracious, childlike appetite for living. "As a human document the "Diary is literally unique," notes Le Gallienne. "It will have a still greater value for its historical importance." --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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His eyewitness accounts of the Plague (1665) and the Great Fire (1666) in London are riveting. But it is the description of quotidian events that sheds light on how the people lived. Moving easily among different social classes, he recorded their moods and diversions. He attended public executions of regicides (complete with display of heads and organs to a cheering crowd), and noted when initial enthusiasm for the restoration of the monarchy gave way to disillusionment; when anger at the King's debauchery and neglect of state business bred nostalgia for the reign of Oliver Cromwell.
While critical of the King's and the Court's incessant "gambling and whoring", Pepys himself was no paragon of virtue.Read more ›
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Samuel Pepys was the first historical robust rascal I read that had a wicked, witty sense of humor that shines clear through the centuries, so that I felt he was winking at us too. Separated by a hundred years, these two huge men are joined by a sense of fun, by enjoying and living their significant lives to the very utmost. It shows in their actions as well as their writings - and no one is sure why Samuel wrote his diaries in such great and often unflattering detail, and in a code he designed himself - and in the obvious esteem their peers held these two public servants.
When we lived in London for about seven years my wife and two sons would often explore the city, and often took along one of the `complete' diaries with us and revisited - as one still can - many of naughty Samuel's favorite flirting, drinking and eating spots. As recently as 2009 my family was able to float down the Thames to an Inn that Pepys often visited and were still able to sit at windows on wooden benches and eat "whitebait and brown bread" as he did.
Spanning the several decades of his significant career in the creation of the British Navy, through England's own revolution and shortly lived Republic and the eventual return of the Monarch that Pepys served so well, the diaries (and there are several volumes) detail his day to day life in great personal detail that draw strong mind pictures of those dramatic times. The reader can "see" him hiding his wheel of Parmesan Cheese by burying it in the Admiralty yard, reporting to the King on the Great Fire of London, surveying and establishing His Majesty's Dockyards at Chatham and Sheerness.
Pepys offers the reader deep insight to parts of a rich, full life of many contributions and public service, of scandal and intrigue, of plots and flirting - a fascinating history.
Samuel Pepys (pronounced 'peeps') is a human, funny, moody man who has his ups and downs like the rest of us. His narrative during the plague records his concern about neighbors, and his real sorrow when people he knows succumb to it. He also records his experiences during the great fire of London in 1666 and his first mention of it strikes me as entirely human - he says that his maids wake him as they have heard of the fire and as it is not near his doorstep he simply goes back to bed as he's tired. He has arguments with his wife, and has cast a lusty eye upon the kings mistress for years! He also has, what I call 'mini affairs' where he kisses and fondles women quite regularly, (including his own maids) and seems to have no guilt about this whatsoever. Most mornings he 'drinks' his breakfast and at one point is outraged that his new wig is teeming with nits! An historical and very human read. Makes me realise that after 450 years we are all no different at all........
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