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The Diary of Samuel Pepys: A Selection

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  1,644 Ratings  ·  138 Reviews
The 1660s represent a turning point in English history, and for the main events -- the Restoration, the Dutch War, the Great Plague and the Fire of London -- Pepys provides a definitive eyewitness account. As well as recording public and historical events, Pepys paints a vivid picture of his personal life, from his socializing and amorous entanglements, to his theatre-goin ...more
Paperback, Penguin Classics, 1096 pages
Published May 1st 2003 by Penguin Books (first published 1669)
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Jason Koivu
Jun 15, 2012 Jason Koivu rated it liked it

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
Jun 07, 2010 Brad rated it liked it
Shelves: autobiography
Neither this nor Anne Frank's diary come anywhere near the diary of that round headed buffoon Karl Pilkington.


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
Lynne King
Apr 23, 2013 Lynne King rated it it was amazing
Shelves: diaries
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
Stuart Townsend
Aug 27, 2012 Stuart Townsend rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Dec 11, 2011 ddjiii rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Jan 30, 2008 Tyler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in history
Shelves: 2007, history, audible
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
Apr 21, 2007 Lisa rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: history buffs
Shelves: wackynonfiction
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!
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
Growing up in the Midwest, I pronounced Samuel's name the way it looked to me: Peppy's, as if it were the name of a small-town diner with soft ice-cream. At that time in that place, the only editions of the Diary that were available hung out in the read-but-don't-remove collections of universities, and were usually abridged anyway, leaving lots of names and dates and politics but cutting out all the fun bits. Like his insane jealousy of his wife's dancing master (never mind his own wandering eye ...more
Nov 12, 2012 Ron rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Deborah Edwards
Dec 28, 2008 Deborah Edwards rated it really liked it
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.
Petra X
May 05, 2015 Petra X rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, reviewed
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.
Jul 04, 2011 Hol added it
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
Bob Schnell
Apr 17, 2014 Bob Schnell rated it really liked it
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
Jul 07, 2014 Sophie rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
It is probably one the best diary I've ever read.
It is really a pity that Samuel Pepys had to stop writing it because of his poor sight.His diary offers a unique point of view of the trouble period of time in which he lived.
What makes this diary so mesmerizing is that Samuel Pepys wrote it for him, not for anyone else (as it was in code). So he is free to write exactly what he thinks.
I really enjoyed reading his account of his life, his work (what a huge amount of work he did), his relations wit
Jan 07, 2012 Sandra rated it really liked it
I was able to read one whole year of Pepys life--1666--as a free Kindle book. I then reviewed the rest of the diary and the entirety of Pepys life via the website:

This is a fascinating glimpse at what upper-class life must have been like during the Restoration years in London. There is a real benefit is reading a day-by-day, slodging-through-ordinary life account like this that cannot be matched in chronological narratives that cover wider periods, focusing just
Ronald Wise
Aug 20, 2011 Ronald Wise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first of nine volumes of a diary kept during the 1660s by English public servant Samuel Pepys while he was in his late 20's and early 30's. Determined to understand every word in the text, I kept reading notes of all unfamiliar words and usages which, though tedious at first, proved useful as the year progressed, as I learned much of the vernacular at that time, as well as some etymological background for words still in use today. I tried creating a family tree of his family based on informa ...more
Aug 02, 2011 Martin rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 05, 2010 Nathan rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
I'm reading 1666 at the moment, and am loving it. The language is quite sparse, but gives you a great insight into the man's character and personality. It's very hard not to like this chirpy fellow who knows of his weaknesses, and regrets them even as he indulges. On that subject, though ...

Reading my copy, I was thinking "gosh, this man is just like me!". He enjoys the company of women, but is happily married and there's no hint of shaggery. Then I read some more about Pepys and realised that I
Nicole Marble
Oct 29, 2008 Nicole Marble rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a wonderful book! We learn that in 1663 turkey was a common supper food in England, that a woman was on stage in a play - Pepys was surprised!, that 1663 was the start of gentlemen wearing a decorative sword as part of his daily wear, that Feb. 14 was celebrated as St. Valentines day, that Quakers were a political problem, that England acquired their ship masts from New England, that people went ice skating in the park, had minced pie for Christmas, used slide rules, knew about the poisonou ...more
Jul 15, 2011 Jonathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hangin' with my Pepys!

At first I didn't think I would become engrossed in some 17th-Century Englishman's diary. How wrong I was! Pepys' career, like Chaucer's, rises meteorically due to his intelligence & quick-thinking. These are united to his fortune which finds him moving in high aristocratic circles.

His life coincides with a fascinating chapter in English history. Revolution & Regicide, Royal Restoration, Plague, war with the Dutch... much to interest the historian. I find an account
6 Years 45,000 Pages
I read this book as part of my project to read 100 works of classic literature in six years. You can check out my entire six week journey through this book on my blog

I am really glad that I read this book. From now on, whenever I read or hear about something during this time period, I will forever think of Samuel Pepys and the world in which he lived. I was particularly struck by the commonality that I found in it, how even though the world we live in is dramatically different in many ways, ther
Mark Valentine
Mar 16, 2016 Mark Valentine rated it it was amazing
Notes from my second reading: I appreciate Samuel Pepys--I am grateful to him and congratulate him. He had the good sense and the discipline and the insight to write his thought down (in a cryptic journal, but that is ok) for the rest of us to see what his age was like. It is because of his efforts that I was able to re-live the fire of London, to read of the shock of women first being allowed to play their own gender on the stage, to see into the internals of domestic life in London, and to rea ...more
Sep 30, 2015 Christie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having given up on finding an unabridged copy of the diary, I checked this out from the library. I enjoyed listening to it very much. Kenneth Branaugh's reading is engaging and his voice very pleasant. The selections from the diary were very interesting to me as I am interested in British history and maritime history. I did not know until I started listening that Pepys had such an important job regarding the Royal Navy. Hearing all the talk of masts and knees made me miss my college shipwreck ar ...more
Edward Waverley
Jun 13, 2014 Edward Waverley marked it as to-read
Rushdoony comments:

"Moreover, there was increasingly [in the 17th century] a moral indifference. One of the most interesting indications of this is the Diary of Samuel Pepys. If you’ve never read it, it’s quite a treat. The diary of Pepys was only decoded about 1900; and, I believe, first published around 1909. And it is only now that the full diary is being published by the University of California at Berkeley Press. Pepys was a very important man in English history, because he was, in a sense,
Gary Daly
Apr 27, 2014 Gary Daly rated it really liked it
Fascinating diary of a British Public Servant employed on the navy board as well as Pepys' incredible social life between the theatre, drinking, eating, social climbing and most of all his insasiable desire for sex. He hits on every single women he comes into contact with, married or not, servant or duchess. His infidelity uncovered (only once as his wife had no idea as to his regular behaviour) catching him red handed so to speak with their maid. Other than his infidelities it is the torturous ...more
Dec 08, 2014 Lukerik rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Story So Far...
Pepys is quite happy doing odd jobs for his relative Sir Edward Mountagu, but momentous events are about to overtake him. He goes to sea with Sir Edward, who is in secret negotiations with Charles II for the restoration of the monarchy. They go to the Netherlands and Charles returns to England on Pepys’s ship. Sir Edward is promoted to being the Earl of Sandwich and Pepys rises with him, becoming one of the highest ranking civil servants in the country. Pepys tries to come to
Jul 14, 2008 Barbara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
This audiobook is highly recommended. I just remembered it today when I saw the book reviewed by someone else. It takes you intimately into seventeenth century England with a man who experienced some of the most interesting moments in history. Kenneth Branagh does an outstanding job narrating. My thanks once again to Ruth Bavetta who loaned it to be by mail nine years ago.
Oct 31, 2013 Lcitera rated it did not like it
Spare me. I read...or attempted to read... this diary as I travelled the United Kingdom. Gives new meaning to "boring". I have no idea why such is considered a classic. I can understand its worth as a historical document appropriate to research and as a primary source...but Pepys is such a despicable person that I could not wait to delete him from my books.
Kevin Futers
Having read the free Kindle edition I find that I have read the sanitised 19th century edit, complete with annoying but sometimes helpful notes about the lineage of persons of quality mentioned in the text and identifying most of the plays that he goes to see. No rumpy-pumpy allowed in the Victorian version!

Now, is there a free Kindle edition of John Evelyn's diaries The Diary of John Evelyn? Every time I read his name I felt ever so curious as to whether Evelyn thought it worth mentioning that
Nov 08, 2008 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
These recordings are outstanding. Kenneth Branagh brings this alive.

The sections where Pepys would lapse into French whenever the subject changed to sex was hilarious in the printed version but, in the recordings is an absolute laugh riot!

Cannot recommend this strongly enough.
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Classic Book Reading Project 3 10 Apr 27, 2014 05:52AM  
  • Brief Lives
  • Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self
  • London Journal, 1762-1763
  • Restoration London: Everyday Life in the 1660s
  • Eminent Victorians
  • Selected Letters
  • The Major Works
  • The Autobiography Of Benvenuto Cellini
  • Georgian London: Into the Streets
  • Amiel's Journal
  • The Man Died: Prison Notes of Wole Soyinka
  • Journals, 1889-1949 (Penguin Modern Classics)
  • Portrait of a Marriage: Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson
  • 1700: Scenes from London Life
  • Lost London: 1870 - 1945
  • The Unquiet Grave: A Word Cycle by Palinurus
  • The Major Works
  • The Lunar Men: Five Friends Whose Curiosity Changed the World
Samuel Pepys was an English naval administrator and Member of Parliament, who is now most famous for his diary. Although Pepys had no maritime experience, he rose by patronage, hard work and his talent for administration, to be the Chief Secretary to the Admiralty under King James II. His influence and reforms at the Admiralty were important in the early professionalization of the Royal Navy.

The d
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“Strange to see how a good dinner and feasting reconciles everybody.” 753 likes
“The truth is, I do indulge myself a little the more in pleasure, knowing that this is the proper age of my life to do it; and, out of my observation that most men that do thrive in the world do forget to take pleasure during the time that they are getting their estate, but reserve that till they have got one, and then it is too late for them to enjoy it.” 12 likes
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