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The Diary of Samuel Pepys

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  1,897 Ratings  ·  161 Reviews
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 diverti ...more
Paperback, Abridged, 352 pages
Published September 9th 2003 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
Sep 06, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Stuart Townsend
Aug 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Lynne King
Apr 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 18, 2007 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 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 03, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  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!
Petra X
Apr 19, 2011 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.
Damián Ríos
Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Extraordinario diarios de Samuel Pepys. la lectura es muy entretenida y la descripción del incendio de Londres es espectacular, una joya de la literatura universal. Pepys cuenta de su vida personal, su mujer, sus amantes, las obras de teatro a las que va a ver. A las amantes del Rey las trata como ahora se tratan a las estrellas de Hollywood. Siempre es muy divertido, escribe con mucha gracia. A mí me regalaron una edición de la editorial Renacimiento, una editorial valenciana. la traducción, de ...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
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
Deborah Edwards
Dec 28, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Steve Browne
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just finished listening to a selection of 4 hours of Pepys' diary on Naxos Audiobook. Five events excellently read. A bit of Restoration, a bit of Plague, a lot of Fire, some warring with the Dutch, and the fallout from taking sexual advantage of his wife's maid. Good examples from a total of 124 hours audio, and just enough to put me off hearing the whole thing because he's not a good guy. The details of life in the 1660s are the most interesting thing here - he eats oysters by the barrelful! ...more
Nov 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Olenpas vähän kateellinen Pepysille (lausutaan muuten Piips), mies oli uskomattoman toimelias, ja tuntuu nukkuneen vain kourallisen tunteja yössä, vaikka oli tätä kymmenvuotista päiväkirjaa pitäessään noin minun ikäinen. Nukkumaan menee yleensä vasta puolenyön jälkeen, mutta monesti on jo aamuneljältä tai viideltä jalkeilla harjoittelemassa vaikkapa säveltämistä, nokkahuilun soittoa, lukemassa kirjoja tai järjestämässä kirjastoaan ennen kuin lähtee virastoon töihin, joissa on pitkälle iltaan. Se ...more
Aug 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Feb 03, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 05, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Ronald Wise
Aug 20, 2011 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
Nicole Marble
Oct 29, 2008 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 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 28, 2011 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
Kristi Richardson
“Methought it lessened my esteem of a king, that he should not be able to command the rain.”

I have heard a great deal over the years about this famous diary of Samuel Pepys but never read it. I enjoyed it very much and was amazed how readable it truly is even today.

My favorite parts were his constant fights with his wife and his fear of the Plague. I also enjoyed the section where he had hidden his gold in the garden of his father in law and was having a terrible time finding where it was.

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
Oct 31, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 14, 2008 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.
Mar 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
James of the Redwoods
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
  • 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
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 about Samuel Pepys

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“Strange to see how a good dinner and feasting reconciles everybody.” 749 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.” 15 likes
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