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The Diary of Samuel Pepys

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  2,823 ratings  ·  242 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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Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"...and God forgive me, I do still see that my nature is not to be quite conquered, but will esteem pleasure above all things;"
- Samuel Pepys, Diary, 9 March 1666


Loved it. I'm not sure why I didn't rate/review the complete Pepys in 2015. An oversight, obviously. Here are my reviews of the individual books/years in the collection:

1. Vol. I: 1660 - Read October 17, 2015
2. Vol. II: 1661 - Read October 24, 2015
3. Vol. III: 1662 - Read October 30, 2015
4. Vol. IV: 1663 - Read November 5, 2015
5. Vol
Jason Koivu
Oct 08, 2009 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
Sep 06, 2008 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
Stuart Townsend
Aug 27, 2012 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
Lady Mayfair
The end, March 2021:

It's done.
It's finished.

There is a strange sense of melancholy in the air, one feels as if a friend had moved far away, never to be seen again, a true friend, one that is embraced with all his qualities and defects. I've been with Samuel for exactly one year. He is a gloriously interesting man, full of curiosity and courage, pains and defects that perhaps would not be acceptable in contemporary times but still, here we are, melancholic over the loss of a friend who trusts on
Lynne King
Apr 22, 2013 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
Dec 11, 2011 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
David K. Glidden
Apr 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pepys diary is always an insight into the lives of the wealthy and well connected. And this abridged volume has a brilliant introduction by Robert Louis
Stevenson. But I read Pepys again now for his diary entries of the London plague of 1665 and the London Fire of 1666. The former was informative, while the entries on the Fire were fairly superficial though worth reading.
Dec 18, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in history
Shelves: history, audible, 2007
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
Petra X insecurity is paranoia
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.
May 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When the Pepys Diary is read, it is most often in the form of an abridged selection of highly interesting passages. That is OK, since the unabridged diary is long (10 years, 1,000,000 words) and consists of numerous stretches where not much seems to happen. But reading abridged highlights begs the question of how this work of daily short entries by a 27 year old junior bureaucrat in Restoration England come to be one of the primary sources for the details of daily life at that time and one of th ...more
Apr 05, 2012 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
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pepys loathed a newfangled drink called tea, disliked Shakespearean plays (except for Romeo and Juliet), and didn’t trust the men who spent hours teaching his wife dancing, singing and painting. He adored his wife Lizzie, Mrs Lane (who’s husband was often at sea), Mrs Knepp the actress, and Deb Willet his maid (ultimately fired at his wife’s insistence). His manservant Will is not above the odd gentle dig at the foibles of his boss, and gives the occasional blunt lecture about his philandering. ...more
Bob Schnell
Apr 10, 2014 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
Apr 03, 2007 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!
Sep 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Samuel Pepys sexually assaulted every woman he could - and wrote about his attempts in his diary, though he did put them into a code of French, Spanish and Italian words. When his wife caught him fondling one of their servants and sent her away, Pepys wrote that he wished he could take ‘her maidenhead’ and in fact tried to arrange meetings with her, despite the fact that his wife refused to allow him to roam London alone and did her best to make sure he was always accompanied. He’s just dreadful ...more
Grace Tierney
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book for three reasons. It's on the 501 books to read before you die list (which I'm using as a reading list), it's a diary which is format I enjoy, the 1660s are an interesting period of English history, especially in London.

However, I didn't realise how long it was until I spotted a hardback set (I read in ebook format) and realised it's a three volume set. It took me a couple of months to read, reading nearly everyday except for one week.

So, was it worth the effort? Yes.

I can see
May 20, 2011 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
Deborah Edwards
Dec 28, 2008 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. ...more
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
Rex Libris
Dec 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finally got through with this! It about 3000 pages long, seemed a lot longer. I think this is the longest it ever took me to get through a book, almost 3.5 months.

But it was worth it, it was quite the interest work. We get an eyewitness view of the Restoration, the attack of the Plague in London, the Great Fire, and war with the Dutch. We also get a glimpse int othe shenanigans of the royal gentry and Pepys himself.
Lisa of Hopewell
Aug 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
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"
Brian Eshleman
Enjoyed his frankness with respect to the challenges of financial discipline and the fact that marital harmony was not automatic even when divorce was very rare.
Anita Hargreaves
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book I will keep for life, fascinating
Ervin Vice
Dec 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’ve been dipping into the Diary of Samuel Pepys for years. It’s ideal for the compulsive reader who is often too distracted and preoccupied to stick with a book from cover to cover. That would be me. How fortunate it is that so many of the entries can be read in just a few minutes, and then possess and enthrall me for the next couple of hours - or days or years.

Some scenes will always stick in my mind.

There was the time Pepys examined the corpse of a sailor who’d been hanged for a robbery. He
Dec 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
I forget how many years ago I bought the abridged version of the diary, in a bookshop in the centre of Brisbane. I’ve read it in snatches over the years between reading other works - it’s not a book you would read in one go. It is, as everyone knows, an important historical document covering major political and other events during the Restoration period, from 1660 to 1669. What a pity Pepys eyesight failed him as in another ten years he would have covered the Popish Plot and the rise and fall of ...more
Peter Tillman
Notes and progress (not a review, yet, if ever)

I downloaded a PD copy from Amazon. At first glance, the Gutenberg version may be easier reading: (incomplete, see below)
--but Amazon's version starts in 1659/60, and Gutenberg's in 1666. Both of these are based on the old, bowdlerized editions, as Claire Tomalin notes.
Comments from others who have read the Pepys diary are most welcome!

Ah, it looks like Wikipedia has an unexpurgated copy of the diary: https://en.w
May 04, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This diary is both an incredibly important historical document and proof that the author was a huge weirdo. He's obsessed with his conquests, but doesn't seem to be at all good at seduction, and it also super prudish about sex. His relationship with his wife reads like the stereotypical sitcom wife / sitcom husband dynamic, with constant ups and downs, him beating her, her finding him in delicto flagranti with another woman, and then going back to being the best of friends the same day.
What's r
Jul 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not ambitious enough to have read the complete Diary (how many thousands of pages?), but I read this abridgement through and sampled extensively in another (Kindle) abridgement and the (also Kindle) complete. Finding the best parts, or even putting the entries into proper context, is very hard with either of the abridgements I tried. I did make extensive use of the excellent which gives monthly summaries, lots of commentary and many other resources to help one navigate. The mo ...more
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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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