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Pepys, Samuel (1633–1703)

PEPYS, SAMUEL (16331703)

PEPYS, SAMUEL (16331703), English diarist and politician. Although Samuel Pepys spent fewer than ten years of his life keeping a daily record, his diary has become an extremely important source of information about Restoration England. The Diary, which begins on 1 January 1660 and ends on 31 May 1669, chronicles, with both exacting detail and stylistic flair, some of the most important events in seventeenth-century British history, such as the coronation of Charles II in 1660, the Great Plague of 1665, and the Great Fire of 1666. The Diary has also become an important primary text for historians of music and drama, as Pepys was an avid patron of the arts and wrote regular entries describing the performances that he attended. Much of what modern scholars know about the Restoration stage, from the physical construction of the theaters to the mannerisms of the actors and the audiences, comes directly from the observations of Samuel Pepys. Since its first partial publication in 1825, The Diary of Samuel Pepys has been an invaluable historical record, a key example of early modern aesthetic criticism, and a valuable literary work in its own right.

Samuel Pepys was born in London in 1633. His father, John Pepys, was a reputable tailor with the means to provide his son with an education that included St. Paul's School in London and Cambridge University. Pepys came of age during the turbulent decades of the English Civil Wars, and his family was intimately involved in the political struggles that characterized the day. Samuel's father was a first cousin of Sir Edward Montagu, an important nobleman who initially supported Cromwell, but whose eventual conversion to the Royalist cause helped pave the way for the Restoration in 1660. After graduating from Cambridge in 1654, Pepys went to work as a minor functionary to his famous cousin. One year later, he married a French refugee named Elizabeth St. Michel and settled into a career as an English civil servant.

The first year of Samuel Pepys's Diary, 1660, is also the year of Charles II's coronation and the reestablishment of the monarchy in England. Edward Montagu's abrupt switch to the Royalist position after Cromwell's death placed Pepys in the center of the politics of the Restoration. In March of that year, Montagu asked Samuel to accompany him on a sea voyage to Holland to bring Charles II back to England as the king. Some of the earliest and best entries in the Diary consist of Pepys's firsthand observations of this momentous journey. Once returned to power, Charles rewarded Montagu's support by creating him the first earl of Sandwich; Montagu rewarded Samuel's service by helping him secure increasingly important positions with the Royal Navy. A skilled manager, Pepys eventually became the Navy's top administrator and is still credited with significant modernizations to its operations.

Believing that he was in danger of going blind, Pepys wrote his last Diary entry in 1669; however, he continued his career as a public servant for another twenty years. In 1673, he was elected to a seat in the House of Commons, which he held, with several interruptions, until 1687. Pepys's close political ties to the Stuarts brought him into conflict with the earl of Shaftesbury, who worked diligently during the 1670s to prevent the succession of Charles II's Catholic brother, James, to the throne. In 1679, Pepys was briefly imprisoned in connection with the "Popish Plot," a manufactured conspiracy in which Jesuits and French sympathizers were supposedly planning to assassinate Charles II. When it became clear that the evidence against Pepys was entirely fabricated, he was released to resume his public career. In 1684, he was elected president of the Royal Society of London, where he oversaw the printing of Isaac Newton's magnum opus, Principia Mathematica, in 1687. After the Glorious Revolution of 16881689, Pepys retired from public life and wrote Memories Relating to the State of the Royal Navy of England (1690), the only work he published during his life.

According to the terms of Samuel Pepys's will, both his extensive book collection and his personal papersincluding the Diary were donated to Cambridge University after his death. As the Diary was written in shorthand, with foreign words often replacing English ones when the subject matter was sexual in nature, it was not immediately accessible to historians in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In 1825, a heavily edited, bowdlerized, and badly transcribed version of the Diary was published to widespread acclaim as Memoirs of Samuel Pepys, Esq. F.R.S. More complete versions were published throughout the nineteenth century, but the first complete and unabridged version was not available until 1983, when Robert Lathan and William Matthews completed their definitive eleven-volume edition for the University of California Press.

See also Biography and Autobiography ; Charles II (England) ; Diaries ; English Civil War and Interregnum ; English Literature and Language .

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Primary Sources

Pepys, Samuel. The Diary of Samuel Pepys: A New and Complete Transcription. Edited by Robert Lathan and William Matthews. 11 vols. Berkeley, 19701983.

. Private Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers of Samuel Pepys, 16791703. Edited by J. R. Tanner. 2 vols. London, 1926.

Secondary Sources

Taylor, Ivan E. Samuel Pepys. Rev. ed. New York, 1989.

Tomalin, Claire. Saumel Pepys: The Unequalled Self. New York, 2002.

Michael Austin

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Samuel Pepys

Samuel Pepys

The English diarist and public official Samuel Pepys (1633-1703) kept a diary that provides a graphic account of English social life and conditions during the early period of the Restoration.

Samuel Pepys was born on Feb. 23, 1633, in London. His father was a tailor. Pepys was sent to school first at Huntingdon and later to St. Paul's in London. In June 1650 he entered Trinity College, Cambridge, but he transferred to Magdalene College the following October and graduated in 1653.

In 1655 Pepys married Elizabeth St. Michel, the young daughter of a Huguenot exile. The couple was apparently supported at first by Pepys's cousin Sir Edward Montagu, later the Earl of Sandwich, whose service Pepys entered. In 1660 Pepys accompanied Montagu as secretary on the voyage that returned Charles II to England. That same year Pepys was appointed clerk of the acts at the Navy Office. This appointment was significant because Pepys was to serve the navy in some capacity for the greater part of his life, working to improve its efficiency and to ensure its integrity.

In 1662 Pepys was appointed one of the commissioners for Tangier, which was then occupied by the English; 3 years later he was named treasurer. When the Dutch War broke out in 1665, he was appointed surveyor general of the Victualing Office in addition to his regular duties for the navy, and he remained at his post throughout the Great Plague of 1665 although most inhabitants left London. Pepys saved the Navy Office from the Great Fire of 1666 by having the buildings around it destroyed. When the Dutch War ended in 1668, the Duke of York entrusted Pepys with the task of acquitting the navy of mismanagement.

Pepys's appearance before Parliament evidently whetted his own aspirations for a seat. He was elected to Parliament in 1673 and again in 1679. In 1673 the King transferred Pepys from the Navy Office to the secretaryship of the Admiralty. At the time of the Popish Plot in 1678, Whig opponents of the Duke of York accused Pepys of giving naval secrets to the French. Pepys resigned his office and was imprisoned in the Tower in 1679, but the charges against him were unfounded, and Pepys was vindicated and freed in 1680.

Pepys's wife had died in 1669. His principal companions since then had been such men of taste and knowledge as John Evelyn, Christopher Wren, and John Dryden. In 1684 Pepys was elected president of the Royal Society. That same year he was also restored to the secretaryship of the Admiralty, retaining the post until the Glorious Revolution of 1688.

After Pepys retired from public life in 1689, he led a relatively quiet life. He published his Memoirs … of the Royal Navy in 1690. He corresponded with friends and acted as consultant to the navy. He died on May 26, 1703.

Pepys is remembered today for the diary he kept for 9 1/ 2 years in the 1660s. In his diary, written in cipher, Pepys recorded both the significant and trivial events of his public and private worlds. Together with his impressions of his own domestic situation, he recorded his thoughts about Charles II, the Great Plague of 1665, the Great Fire of 1666, the Restoration theater, the King's mistresses, the Dutch War, and the Duke of York. Failing eyesight caused him to discontinue the diary while still a young man, but its intimate record of his daily life and of the early Restoration remains both interesting and historically valuable.

Pepys's diary was not transcribed and published until 1825. The first virtually complete edition was issued between 1893 and 1899, edited by H. B. Wheatley.

Further Reading

The definitive study of Pepys is Cecil Emden, Pepys Himself (1963). Earlier biographies include Arthur Ponsonby, Samuel Pepys (1928), and Arthur Bryant, Samuel Pepys (3 vols., 1933-1939). Marjorie Hope Nicolson, Pepys' Diary and the New Science (1965), offers some discussion of the place of Pepys and the Royal Society in the history of ideas. The definitive edition of Pepys's diary is The Diary of Samuel Pepys (11 vols., 1970-83, new ed. 1996) edited by Robert Latham and William Matthews.

Additional Sources

Bradford, Gamaliel, Samuel Pepys, New York: Haskell House, 1975.

Kirk, Clara Marburg, Mr. Pepys and Mr. Evelyn, Folcroft, Pa.: Folcroft Library Editions, 1974.

Lubbock, Percy, Samuel Pepy, Folcroft, Pa. Folcroft Library Editions, 1974; Norwood, Pa.: Norwood Editions, 1977.

Meynell, Esther, Samuel Pepys: administrator, observer, gossip, New York: Haskell House, 1976.

Ollard, Richard Lawrence, Pepys: a biography, Oxford Oxfordshire; New York: Oxford University Press, 1984.

Tanner, J. R. (Joseph Robson), Samuel Pepys and the Royal Navy, Philadelphia: R. West, 1977.

Taylor, Ivan E. (Ivan Earle), Samuel Pepys, Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1989.

Wheatley, Henry Benjamin, Samuel Pepys and the world he lived in, New York: Haskell House Publishers, 1975. □

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Pepys, Samuel

Samuel Pepys (pēps), 1633–1703, English public official, and celebrated diarist, b. London, grad. Magdalene College, Cambridge, 1653. In 1656 he entered the service of a relative, Sir Edward Montagu (later earl of Sandwich), whose secretary he became in 1660. That same year he started as a clerk in the navy office and by 1668 he was an important naval official and owned a considerable estate. In 1672 he was made secretary to the admiralty. He sat in the Parliament of 1679, but he was charged with betraying naval secrets to the French in the same year. He was briefly imprisoned in the Tower but was vindicated and freed in 1680. In 1684 Pepys was reappointed secretary to the admiralty and was made president of the Royal Society. The accession of William III forced him into retirement, where he wrote his Memoirs … of the Royal Navy (1690).

Pepys left his valuable library, including his diary in cipher, to his nephew John Jackson and in turn to Magdalene College, Cambridge. His diary was discovered there in 1728 and nearly a century later was partially deciphered and first published (1825). An almost full text was edited by H. B. Wheatley (10 vol., 1893–99), but a complete edition did not appear until after World War II. One of the most famous diaries of all time, an intimate record of the daily life and reflections of an ambitious, observing, and lusty young man, it extends from Jan. 1, 1660, to May 31, 1669, when failing eyesight forced him to stop writing. Pepys's diary gives a graphic picture of the social life and conditions of the early Restoration period, including eyewitness accounts of the great plague (1665) and the great fire of London (1666).

See the diary (new ed. by R. Latham and W. Matthews, 10 vol., 1970–83) and the abridgment of the diary (ed. by O. F. Morshead, 1960); Pepys's letters (ed. by H. T. Heath, 1955); biography by C. Tomalin (2002); studies by P. Hunt (1958), C. Emden (1963), O. A. Mendelsohn (1963), M. H. Nicolson (1965), I. E. Taylor (1967), R. Barber (1972).

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Pepys, Samuel

Pepys, Samuel (1633–1703). Diarist, naval official, bibliophile, musician, member of Parliament, president of the Royal Society, twice master of Trinity House, Pepys lived through an epoch of increasing sophistication in government, when capacity and drive could help a man rise high, especially if assisted by patronage. Pepys's patron was his cousin Edward Montagu, a naval commander under the republic who promoted Charles II's restoration and became earl of Sandwich. Pepys was appointed clerk of the acts (secretary) to the Navy Board in 1660 when that body effectively ran the navy under James, duke of York. The young secretary's assiduity rapidly won him esteem, and some dislike. But, weathering the disasters of the second Dutch War, Pepys was appointed the first secretary of the Admiralty in 1673. Though out of office 1679–84, a victim of the ‘Exclusion’ agitation, his return saw Pepys become the crown's minister for the navy until the Glorious Revolution. Then he was forced from office as too closely associated with James II.

For all his contributions to the navy's well-being, however, Pepys has become much the best-known Englishman of the 17th cent. through his diary, or ‘Journal’, kept in shorthand and complete secrecy between January 1660 and May 1669, and first transcribed in 1822. Sometimes priggish, it is guileless in self-revelation. ‘Traits of actual speech fleck its pattern’ and mark the author as a journalist of genius, in his own words ‘ever with child to see any strange thing’. Pepys's scholarly discrimination is plain from his library, scrupulously preserved in Magdalene College, Cambridge.

David Denis Aldridge

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Pepys, Samuel

Pepys, Samuel (1633–1703) English diarist. His Diary (1660–69) describes his private life and the English society of his time. It includes a vivid account of the Restoration, the 1661 coronation ceremony, the Plague, and the Great Fire of London of 1666. Written in shorthand, it was not published until 1815, and not in complete form until 1983.

http://library.upenn.edu

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Pepys, Samuel

Samuel Pepys

BORN: 1633, London, England

DIED: 1703, Clapham, England

NATIONALITY: British

GENRE: Nonfiction

MAJOR WORKS:
Memoirs Relating to the State of the Royal Navy in England (1690)
The Diary of Samuel Pepys (1825)

Overview

British author Samuel Pepys (pronounced “Peeps”) fused together two opposite personality traits—he had a chaotic, unbridled personal life bursting with creative energy and physical passions, but he also had the ordered and disciplined mind of a highly successful bureaucrat. For over thirty years, he undertook the massive project of restructuring the entire British navy. But starting around this same time, he also wrote an astonishing diary, published in 1825 as The Diary of Samuel Pepys, that, better than any other primary source, gives us a detailed portrait of the dynamic Restoration period in British history. Pepys essentially invented the form of the personal diary as it is known today.

Works in Biographical and Historical Context

English Civil War Marred Childhood Pepys was born in London in 1633, the son of a tailor and a butcher's sister. During his childhood, the English Civil War broke out. Lasting from 1642 to 1651, the war was a conflict between royalist forces who supported King Charles I (a Catholic-leaning believer in the divine right of kings) and Puritan rebels led by Oliver Cromwell. Cromwell's forces wanted a shift of power away from the king, the landed aristocracy, and the Church of England and more toward Parliament, the urban merchant classes, and Puritan theology. The rebels won, and Charles I was executed in 1649. Great Britain became a commonwealth, and Cromwell was its leader.

Pepys was educated in Puritan schools, and in 1650, he entered Cambridge University. He graduated in 1653 with few prospects and little money, and in 1655 he married the fifteen-year-old Elizabeth St. Michel, a French Protestant who was even poorer than he. The couple was supported by Pepys's cousin Sir Edward Montagu, later the first Earl of Sandwich. Pepys became a secretary for Montagu, who was a powerful naval officer.

Began Writing Diary The year 1660 marked an important transition for Pepys and for all of England. Cromwell died in 1658, succeeded by his son Richard Cromwell, but by then the public was dissatisfied with Puritanical rule. Parliament voted to restore Charles II, the eldest son of Charles I, to the throne. The following period (1660–1700) was known as the Restoration. The first entry in the most revealing and intimate account of the Restoration period, Pepys's diary, is appropriately dated January 1, 1660.

Pepys accompanied Montagu on the voyage to Holland that returned Charles II to England. That same year, Pepys was appointed clerk at the Navy Office. The British navy at the time was totally chaotic by today's standards: Ships might or might not be owned by the state; there was no clear distinction between civilian and military sailors; no regular systems were in place for supplying the ships or paying the men; officers were likely to be courtiers appointed without experience; bookkeeping varied from person to person, and taking bribes was considered one of the privileges of office. Pepys pioneered thousands of small changes that would eventually transform this chaos into an orderly and professional navy.

Increased Naval Responsibilities When the Dutch War (a conflict between England and what would become the Netherlands over Dutch domination of world trade) broke out in 1665, Pepys was appointed surveyor general of the Victualing Office in addition to his regular duties for the navy. He remained at his post throughout the Great Plague of 1665 when most other inhabitants of London had left to avoid an outbreak of the deadly bubonic plague, a bacterial infection transmitted by fleas carried by rats. Pepys saved the Navy Office from the Great Fire of 1666 (when as much as 80 percent of London was destroyed by the blaze) by having the buildings around it destroyed in advance. Once the Dutch War ended in 1667 with a Dutch victory, Pepys established his reputation as a skilled public servant by eloquently and honestly defending the navy's management of the disastrous war before angry committees in the House of Commons.

Served in Parliament Pepys's appearance before Parliament evidently whetted his own aspirations for a seat. He was elected to Parliament in 1673 and again in 1679. In 1673, King Charles II transferred Pepys from the Navy Office to the secretaryship of the Admiralty. At the time of the Popish Plot in 1678, a time of anti-Catholic paranoia in the wake of a failed attempt to assassinate Charles II, the Whig opponents of one of Pepys's political allies accused Pepys of giving naval secrets to the (Catholic) French. Pepys resigned his office and was imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1679, but the charges against him were unfounded, and Pepys was freed in 1680.

Meanwhile, Pepys's marriage was under strain starting in 1668 after his wife discovered him groping the household maid. The history of the affair, and the emotional turbulence for all concerned, is described in memorable detail in the diary. Pepys's wife died of a fever in 1669. His main companions afterwards were many of the most brilliant men of the Restoration, including John Evelyn, Christopher Wren, and John Dryden.

Personal Restoration In 1684 Pepys was elected president of the Royal Society, a prestigious organization of scientists, intellectuals, and (in Pepys's case) collectors and cataloguers of exotica. Pepys was restored to the secretaryship of the Admiralty, retaining the post until his voluntary retirement, with his eyesight failing, when dramatic political changes came through England in 1688. At that time, King James II, who had succeeded his elder brother Charles II in 1685, was overthrown because he attempted to restore Roman Catholicism to Britain. James II was replaced on the throne by his daughter, Mary II, and her Dutch husband, William III. This transfer of power was known as the Glorious Revolution.

Retiring in 1689 after the Glorious Revolution was completed, Pepys moved to the London suburb of Clapham. There, he devoted time to reading and writing. He spent much time writing what became the only work he saw published Memories Relating to the State of the Royal Navy of England (1690). Pepys died on May 26, 1703.

Works in Literary Context

Advent of Modern Diary With The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Pepys essentially invented the modern diary, if by that word we mean an informal account of the thoughts, passions, events, and gossip of the day. Before the diary, however, there was the Puritan spiritual autobiography, to which he would have had some exposure in the Puritan schools he attended as a child. Most Puritans endorsed John Calvin's theology of “predestination,” or the idea that if God truly knows everything and biblical prophecies are true, then God must know the future, which includes knowing who will go to heaven or hell even before they are born. Calvin believed that each human being is born predestined for his or her fate and has a duty to discover the path that God has already laid out for them. Puritans were therefore encouraged to keep spiritual journals, noting the small coincidences and subtle clues in their lives that together sketch a map of one's life.

Individualism Pepys articulated the new modern individual, moving through his days according to his own shifting passions, curiosities, likes and dislikes, speculations, and high ambitions. In this sense, Pepys reflected the same cultural influences that would later become the mode of the modern novel—a genre that explores individuality, subjectivity, the small details of daily life, the highs and lows of love and marriage, the foibles and confessions of imperfect people trying to make the most of their lives, and the relationship of the individual to larger society.

Public versus Private One recurring theme of the diary concerns tensions between the public, the private, and the idea of “secret.” Pepys sometimes goes to extremes in one direction, but most often he ends up with a kind of compromise. As he writes chronologically of his day, he will often move fluidly between his public duties as a navy bureaucrat, his private life as a husband or friend, and his secret life as a confessional writer or adulterous lover. In one famous passage about the coronation day of Charles II on April 23, 1661, he carefully details the grand public ceremonies of the event, his personal concerns with the location of his wife in the crowd, and his private bodily requirements of urinating and vomiting.

The frequent shifts between the public and the personal are captured in the sometimes bizarre writing style of the diary. Pepys kept his diary secret, stuffing it in cabinets and drawers. Most of it is written in shorthand, but when he wanted to be particularly secretive about something like a sexual affair, he would slip into an improvised mish-mash of numerous foreign languages. When the massive manuscript of the diary was discovered among Pepys's papers in the early 1800s, it was entirely and painstakingly decoded. The hapless transcriber failed to notice until after he was finished that one of the other books in the Pepys collection was his customized shorthand manual.

Reflection on Restoration Culture The Restoration was a period obsessed with novelty, passions, and enthusiasm, all processed through a balancing sense of reason, self-control, and social decorum. Pepys's diary is full of examples. Pepys was curious about whatever was new and exciting, whether it was shipbuilding, the new sciences, music, languages, prints, ballads, mathematics, or the theater. He was enthusiastic about beauty, especially the beauty of music and women; yet he labored constantly to resist the temptations of drink, the theater, and the numerous young women whom he pawed in closet, kitchen, or coach. He was a compulsive collector, acquiring countless ship models, scientific instruments, portraits, books, and coins—and his logical side led him to catalog all of it very precisely. Pepys's entire diary can be thought of as the most sophisticated expression of his instinct to collect and possess.

LITERARY AND HISTORICAL CONTEMPORARIES

Pepys's famous contemporaries include:

Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus (or Tschirnhausen) (1651–1708): German mathematician, physicist, physician, and philosopher. He is most familiar today, however, for the chemical experiments that led to the invention of European porcelain. His books include Medicina mentis sive artis inveniendi praecepta generali (1687).

Arthur Annesley, first Earl of Anglesey (1614–1686): Irish politician. Annesley represented Dublin in the British parliament under Richard Cromwell. During a time when the English led brutal attacks against the Irish to stamp out political dissent and crush Catholicism, Annesley argued for moderation and nonviolence. He was a leader in bringing about the restoration of Charles II.

Jeremy Collier (1650–1726): English bishop. Collier is best known for his pious attack on the sexually charged Restoration comedies of William Congreve and John Vanbrugh in his Short View of the Immorality and Profaneness of the English Stage (1698).

Françoise-Marguerite de Sévigné, Comtesse de Grignan (1646–1705): French aristocrat. When she got pregnant, married, and moved from Paris to Provence, she began one of the most remarkable series of correspondence in literary history. For the next thirty years, she exchanged over a thousand letters with her mother, sometimes writing up to twenty pages a day.

William Bradford (1663–1752): English printer and settler of the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts. His arrest in 1692 for offending the colonial Quaker leaders of Philadelphia helped shape the early debate over freedom of the press in early America. The jury was split in his trial, delivering no verdict.

Anna Maria Luisa de' Medici (1667–1743): Italian aristocrat. De Medici was the last of the powerful family who held sway over Florence for over four hundred years. Because of their banking interests, the Medicis were at one point the most wealthy family in Europe. She willed all of the vast Medici property to the city of Florence.

Influence Puritan spiritual autobiographies were influences on some early novels, particularly Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe (1719). But most novels are far from Puritan theology and deal more often with the free choices that characters make as they shape their own destiny. Pepys's diary helps bridge the gap although his diary was not a direct influence on the early novel, as it was not widely known until the twentieth century. Pepys wrote his diary for self-exploration and as a creative outlet rather than out of religious duty.

Works in Critical Context

Pepys's diary was not transcribed and published until 1825. Even then it appeared in excerpts, and the first virtually complete edition was issued between 1893 and 1899. It was not until the 1970s that a fully decoded, uncensored version was available. The critical history of Pepys's diary, therefore, is oddly dislocated from his own period. Pepys was a well-known public servant and socialite in his own time, but even his literary friends such as John Dryden knew nothing about his diary and the remarkable literary talent that it would reveal.

The Diary of Samuel Pepys The diary was a revelation when it first appeared. One reviewer, Francis Jeffrey, wrote in 1825, “[We] can scarcely say that we wish it a page shorter; and are of opinion, that there is very little of it which does not help us to understand the character of his times and his contemporaries, better than we should ever have done without it; and makes us feel more assured that we comprehend the great historical events of the age, and the people who bore a part in them.” No doubt many Victorian critics would not have approved of the scandalous sexuality in the diary, but these passages were generally not published until the more permissive late twentieth century.

Since Pepys was a theater lover, literary critics have regularly turned to the diary as a rare source of firsthand accounts of the great age of Restoration drama. Recent critics have been interested in the ways in which Pepys defines the modern man, analyzing the complexity of his self-portrait. Cultural criticism and New Historicism often draws upon Pepys, noting the many ways in which his collections demonstrate aspects of an emerging material culture in the late seventeenth century, and how his alternating patterns of concealment and revelation are indicative of the new mode of self-invention that characterized the period.

COMMON HUMAN EXPERIENCE

Since Pepys's time, the diary form has proven to be a popular mode of storytelling. Writers such as Anaϊs Nin, for example, have published their diaries, while other writers have adapted the form to fiction. The accumulation of small details in a diary establishes a sense of realism, while the intimate, confessional tone allows readers an emotional connection to the narrator. Well-known works written in the diary form include:

A Diary from Dixie (1905), a diary by Mary Boykin Chesnutt. Chesnutt's wonderfully written diary details her experiences on a South Carolina plantation throughout the Civil War. The diary was republished in a new edition, edited by prominent scholar C. Vann Woodward, in 1981 and won Pulitzer Prize in 1982.

Lonelygirl 15 (2006), an Internet series. More than two hundred thousand viewers regularly followed the video diary entries that the anonymous “Lonelygirl 15” posted on the video sharing site YouTube. The compelling storyline of a girl involved in a religious cult and her struggles with her restrictive parents intrigued readers, even after the series was exposed as a fake.

The Diary of a Young Girl (1952), a diary by Anne Frank. Begun on her thirteenth birthday, this diary covers two years of Frank's life while she and her family hid from the Nazis during Hitler's occupation of the Netherlands. The family was discovered, and Frank died in a Jewish concentration camp in 1945. The diary has become one of the most important and useful documents for understanding the history of World War II.

The Diary of Virginia Woolf (1915–1941), five volumes of diaries by Virginia Woolf. Woolf had one of the most wide-ranging intellects of her era, and she was friends with most of the great thinkers of her time, from Sigmund Freud to James Joyce. Her diary reveals the wide sweep of her emotional life, and it is a near-epic document about the creative process of writing.

Responses to Literature

  1. Pepys was very careful to hide his diary and write it in ways that are difficult to understand. Who, therefore, is the intended audience for the diary? Does your answer to this matter relate to how we read the diary today, and what value we assign to it? Create a presentation of your conclusions.
  2. Look for phrases in the diary where Pepys expresses the extremes of pleasure. How many times do you find him saying something is the “best,” the “greatest,” etc.? Note some of the places where Pepys expresses “enthusiasm,” and then do some research on what exactly this word meant in Pepys's time and why it was controversial. Write an essay about your findings.
  3. What can Pepys's diary tell us as a firsthand account of the most significant historical events of the era: the restoration of Charles II, the plague of 1666, the Great Fire of London, and the emergence of Restoration comedy? What does the diary offer that straightforward historical accounts leave out? Write a paper about your conclusions.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Books

Barker, Francis. The Tremulous Private Body: Essays on Subjection. London: Methuen, 1984.

Bryant, Arthur. Samuel Pepys. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1900.

Long, James, and Ben Long. The Plot Against Pepys. London: Faber and Faber, 2007.

Nicolson, Marjorie Hope. Pepys' Diary and the New Science. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1965.

Ollard, Richard. Pepys: A Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1984.

Sherman, Stuart. Telling Time: Clocks, Diaries, and English Diurnal Form, 1660–1785. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996.

Stevenson, Robert Louis. “Samuel Pepys.” In Familiar Studies of Men and Books. London: Chatto and Windus, 1882.

Tanner, J. R. Samuel Pepys and the Royal Navy. Folcroft, Pa.: Folcroft Library Editions, 1974.

Tomalin, Claire. Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self. New York: Knopf, 2002.

Turner, James Grantham. “Pepys and the Private Parts of Monarchy.” In Culture and Society in the Stuart Restoration: Literature, Drama, History. Ed. Gerald MacLean. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

Periodicals

Berger, Harry, Jr. “The Pepys Show: Ghost-Writing and Documentary Desire in the Diary.” ELH 65, no. 3 (1998): 557–91.

Web Sites

Gyford, Phil. The Diary of Samuel Pepys: Daily Entries from the 17th-Century London Diary. Retrieved May 8, 2008, from http://www.pepysdiary.com. Last updated on May 8, 2008.

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Pepys, Samuel (1633–1703)

Pepys, Samuel (1633–1703)

Pepys, Samuel (1633–1703), English diarist and public official. Samuel Pepys kept a diary that provides a graphic account of English social life and conditions during the early period of the Restoration.

Samuel Pepys was born on Feb. 23, 1633, in London. His father was a tailor. Pepys was sent to school first at Huntingdon and later to St. Paul's in London. In June 1650 he entered Trinity College, Cambridge, but he transferred to Magdalene College the following October and graduated in 1653.

In 1655 Pepys married Elizabeth St. Michel, the young daughter of a Huguenot exile. The couple was apparently supported at first by Pepys's cousin Sir Edward Montagu, later the Earl of Sandwich, whose service Pepys entered. In 1660 Pepys accompanied Montagu as secretary on the voyage that returned Charles II to England. That same year Pepys was appointed clerk of the acts at the Navy Office. This appointment was significant because Pepys was to serve the navy in some capacity for the greater part of his life, working to improve its efficiency and to ensure its integrity.

In 1662 Pepys was appointed one of the commissioners for Tangier, which was then occupied by the English; 3 years later he was named treasurer. When the Dutch War broke out in 1665, he was appointed surveyor general of the Victualing Office in addition to his regular duties for the navy, and he remained at his post throughout the Great Plague of 1665 although most inhabitants left London. Pepys saved the Navy Office from the Great Fire of 1666 by having the buildings around it destroyed. When the Dutch War ended in 1668, the Duke of York entrusted Pepys with the task of acquitting the navy of mismanagement.

Pepys's appearance before Parliament evidently whetted his own aspirations for a seat. He was elected to Parliament in 1673 and again in 1679. In 1673 the King transferred Pepys from the Navy Office to the secretaryship of the Admiralty. At the time of the Popish Plot in 1678, Whig opponents of the Duke of York accused Pepys of giving naval secrets to the French. Pepys resigned his office and was imprisoned in the Tower in 1679, but the charges against him were unfounded, and Pepys was vindicated and freed in 1680.

Pepys's wife had died in 1669. His principal companions since then had been such men of taste and knowledge as John Evelyn, Christopher Wren, and John Dryden. In 1684 Pepys was elected president of the Royal Society. That same year he was also restored to the secretaryship of the Admiralty, retaining the post until the Glorious Revolution of 1688.

After Pepys retired from public life in 1689, he led a relatively quiet life. He published his Memoirs . . . of the Royal Navy in 1690. He corresponded with friends and acted as consultant to the navy. He died on May 26, 1703.

Pepys is remembered today for the diary he kept for 9½ years in the 1660s. In his diary, written in cipher, Pepys recorded both the significant and trivial events of his public and private worlds. Together with his impressions of his own domestic situation, he recorded his thoughts about Charles II, the Great Plague of 1665, the Great Fire of 1666, the Restoration theater, the King's mistresses, the Dutch War, and the Duke of York. Failing eyesight caused him to discontinue the diary while still a young man, but its intimate record of his daily life and of the early Restoration remains both interesting and historically valuable.

Pepys's diary was not transcribed and published until 1825. The first virtually complete edition was issued between 1893 and 1899, edited by H. B. Wheatley.

EWB

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