I’m About to Start Reading Samuel Pepys Diaries
Wednesday, 20th April, 2011 Comments Off
Reading Helene Hanff’s book inspired me to go and search for a copy of Samuel Pepy’s complete diaries. Complete, mind you. Like Ms. Hanff, I too dislike the abridged edition or collections of excerpts from Pepys’ diaries with commentaries from the editor. I want the diaries with words written by Sam Pepys’ himself. No words added, none omitted. That’s all. Fortunately I live in an age where pretty obscure books can be searched for and purchased with a few clicks of the mouse from a retailer half a world away. I couldn’t find an old and rare first edition that Ms. Hanff wanted but I don’t care. I just want the complete diaries and Amazon UK have all ten volumes (1660-1669) published by several different publishers. I settled on the FQ Books edition which is large enough in size (about the size of an A4 paper) and cheap enough. Well, cheap-ish. It’s just over £8 per book after discount. For a four hundred year old volume of ten books, that’s a bargain. I just received the first volume today. I may read a month or two worth of entries before bedtime. Samuel Pepys lived in a time of turbulence; the English was about to restore their monarchy after getting rid of Cromwell; half of London burnt in the Great Fire; the Plague killed almost everyone. Pepys was there through it all and recorded it in his diaries. He also diligently recorded his personal life including marital problems with his wife. One time, Mrs. Pepys caught the husband in a, shall we say, compromising situation with a young woman. “I was at a wonderful loss upon it and the girl also….“, wrote Pepys. Wonderful loss indeed.
I’m looking forward to collecting and reading Pepys diaries.