07 May 2013

Pepys Into The Past



Some brilliant soul is Tweeting lines from the famous diary of Samuel Pepys.  This morning's is such a flourish of language, color, and images, that I must needs post it here for our collective entertainment!

First, how do you pronounce his name?
"The accepted pronunciation today of his curiously spelled name is PEEPS. Sam definitely pronounced his name PEEPS as do the descendents of his sister Paulina. However other branches of the family pronounce it PEPPIS."

[from the Samuel Pepys Diary FAQ]
I am going with old Sam and dear Paulina; PEEPS it is.   




And then, who is this fascinating creature? Here are the first two paragraphs from that font of human knowledge, Wikipedia. I've left the links active, just for fun.

"Samuel Pepys' FRS, MP, JP, (pron.: /ˈpps/;[1] 23 February 1633 – 26 May 1703) was an English naval administrator and Member of Parliament who is now most famous for the diary he kept for a decade while still a relatively young man. 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 both King Charles II and subsequently King James II.

His influence and reforms at the Admiralty were important in the early professionalisation of the Royal Navy.[2] The detailed private diary Pepys kept from 1660 until 1669 was first published in the 19th century, and is one of the most important primary sources for the English Restoration period. It provides a combination of personal revelation and eyewitness accounts of great events, such as the Great Plague of London, the Second Dutch War and the Great Fire of London."

Mr. Pepys would utterly adore the Internet age.  If here were alive now, he would have invented Twitter if some else hadn't already done so.


Samuel Pepys diary manuscript volumes
Image source: Wikipedia

Here's more on him from the Samuel Pepys Diary FAQ cited above:
"Although he was known in his day for his efficient work with the navy, he is famous now for his intimate personal diary, written between 1660 and 1669. It is evocative of the 17th century, a time of great change in England but it is its intensely personal description of a man who is vain, lecherous, hard working, keen to learn, in love with yet argumentative with his wife, and determined to leave his mark on the world that makes his diary so fascinating even 350 years later."

I am happy to report that the whole of Pepys' diary now resides on my Kindle reader, thanks to the good people at Project Gutenberg. Here is the link to the various formats they offer (as well as a link to read it online).

Off to breakfast then, wishing I were doing so amid a noise of trumpets and fidlers and wearing a scarlett waistcloathe!

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