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The Diary of Samuel Pepys

The Diary of Samuel Pepys

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The Diary of Samuel Pepys

What is now arguably the world's most famous diary began as a young Cambridge graduate's private chronicle, written in shorthand and never meant for publication. Former Magdalen College student Samuel Pepys began writing his journal in 1660, and continued until failing eyesight forced him to give it up in 1669. Apart from remarkably detailed entries about his daily private and professional life, Pepys also wrote first-hand accounts of major historical events, including the coronation of Charles II, the Great Plague of 1665 and the Great Fire of London in 1666. His account of a gallstone operation he endured without anaesthetic is not for the squeamish. Upon his death, Magdalen College, Cambridge, inherited Pepys' diaries as well as his collection of 3000 books, all of which are now housed in the Pepys Library.

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It is one of the English classics - an intimate, amusing, tragic, rich portrait of an important man (the founder of the modern navy) and - rather like Shakespeare's works - never stales. Pepys is also utterly English in his attitudes and beliefs.

Francis Wright


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My favourite Icon of England has to be the Cornish Pasty.

Ian Baldry

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