Wednesday, January 26, 2005

The Diary of Samuel Pepys

For those of you who think Analog Man is the blog of an old, white dude, may I redirect your attention to the writings of a VERY, old white dude.

Strictly speaking, what we have here is not a blog. After all, Mr. Pepys died in 1703. However, he left behind a marvelous, now famous, secret diary for the years 1660-1670.

From Wikipedia:
Pepys recorded his daily life for almost ten years in breathtaking honesty; the women he pursued, his friends, his dealings are all laid out. His diary reveals his jealousies, insecurities, trivial concerns, and his fractious relationship with his wife. It is an important account of London in the 1660s. Included are his personal account of the restoration of the monarchy, the Great Plague of 1665, the Great Fire of London of 1666, and the arrival of the Dutch fleet, 1665-1667.
Phil Gyford in London, with the help of wonderful volunteers, are serving his dairy to us one day at a time, blog style. Annotations by readers provide insight and assist us in better understanding his life and times. The Diary of Samuel Pepys provides a wonderful entrée into a world very much different from our own, and so very much alike.

Beside the insight into life and times I also enjoy Pepys' use of the language. Stuck in the middle of a diary entry recently was a description of his wife's maid as "...a cross-grained wench" (Sunday 15 December 1661). I almost felt out of my chair. Maybe you had to have been there.

I dedicate this post to the memory of Mrs. Hilda Collins, my high school English teacher who first introduced me to Mr. Pepys. She was a marvelous eccentric who's love of the English language, and those who used it well, transcended her time and place. Like most of the knuckleheads in her classes, I should have paid more attention when she spoke.

"...and so to bed."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Malindi says:

You did listen in her class. She taught you more than history, and you remember her lessons even today, 800 years later. Now that's a teacher.