The Diary of Samuel Pepys
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The Diary of Samuel Pepys

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  1,179 ratings  ·  114 reviews
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,...more
Hardcover, Abridged, 352 pages
Published June 26th 2001 by Modern Library (first published 1669)
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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...more
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
...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
Tyler
Jan 30, 2008 Tyler rated it 4 of 5 stars
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...more
Lisa
Apr 21, 2007 Lisa rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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!
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...more
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
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.
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...more
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...more
Sophie
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...more
Petra SockieX
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.
Sandra
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: http://www.pepysdiary.com/about/

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...more
Ronald Wise
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
Martin
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nathan
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...more
Nicole Marble
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
Jonathan
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...more
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...more
Edward Waverley
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,...more
Gary Daly
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
Barbara
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.
Lcitera
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...more
Rebecca
Lively, often humorous, wonderful depiction of Restoration London, which is extremely beneficial in an abridged version as it does begin to get fairly tedious after a while.

If you don't end up with some sympathy for his wife, well, then, you're not very human.
Rozanne
I've always wanted to read this, having read a few excerpts here and there over the years. I saw an audiobook version of it (read by Kenneth Branaugh) and was nerdily overjoyed. Perfect. It was abridged, but that's OK. What an amazing time period Pepys lived through.
Lisa Hayes
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"
Rissi
I have read, I think five or six years of his diaries. They offer interesting insights into the late 1600s. Mostly I enjoy them, although the language/writing style can be difficult at times.
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Classic Book Reading Project 3 9 Apr 27, 2014 05:52AM  
  • Brief Lives
  • Restoration London: Everyday Life in the 1660s
  • Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self
  • The Life of Samuel Johnson
  • Eminent Victorians
  • Selected Letters
  • The Man Died: Prison Notes of Wole Soyinka
  • The History of England
  • Portrait of a Marriage: Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson
  • The Letters of the Younger Pliny
  • An Image of Africa
  • The Romantic Generation (The Charles Eliot Norton Lectures)
  • The Autobiography Of Benvenuto Cellini
  • The Unquiet Grave: A Word Cycle by Palinurus
  • In the Castle of My Skin
  • Father and Son
  • The Major Works
  • Royal Charles: Charles II and the Restoration
191136
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...more
More about Samuel Pepys...
The Illustrated Pepys: Extracts from the Diary The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Vol 1: 1660 Diary of Samuel Pepys - Complete The Concise Pepys  The Diary of Samuel Pepys 1661

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“Strange to see how a good dinner and feasting reconciles everybody.” 755 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.” 10 likes
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