Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Dear Diary

The long haired fellow above is one Samuel Pepys born this day 1633 in London, England. He was born, the son of a tailor the fifth of eleven children. Due to the high child morality rate he was soon the oldest child in the household. In 1650 he went off to Cambridge University, where he obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1654. It was on January 1st, 1660 that he began the diary that was to put him on the list of heroes. For almost a decade, Pepys was to record his daily life for posterity's sake. It is a peek at the daily life of London during the middle of the seventeenth century, and Pepys chronicles his hopes, dreams, fears, the women he chases, the positions he longs to obtain, and any other thing that comes his way. The decade he kept the diary proved to be an exceptional time in history. The Great Fire of London 1666, the Great Plague of 1665, and the Second Anglo-Dutch War of 1665-1667 were all detailed in the diary. It is also a in depth glimpse at Pepys' personal life, written in shorthand, the diary shows Pepys as a man who loved wine, women, and song. Parts of it could be considered scandalous, but in the main it is a cracking good read. At the end of May, 1669 Pepys concluded that he had to bring the diary to an end to save his deteriorating eyesight. He went on to a moderately successful career in the Admiralty, but for those volumes of witty, insightful, and highly entertaining writings that show what life was really like in London town way back then, Samuel Pepys (February 23rd, 1633-May 26th, 1703, at the age of 70), you are my (182nd) hero of the day.

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