Catch the last couple of episodes now as they are only available on he BBC iPlayer for 7 days since transmission.
'Read in a period until you hear its people speak' wrote the historian E.H.Carr; with period drama such as this there is no need.
Episode One (Saved in BBC iPlayer for one week from broadcast)
Episode Two (10h45 Today, repeated 19h45 this evening)
This first episode is a wonderful interplay between domestic and civil life, the prospect of joining the ship that will fetch the King from exile, while the 'wench' who works for them refuses to kill the turkey they've been feeding up because it's her friend.
On the 1st of January 1660, the 26 year old Samuel Pepys decides to start keeping a diary.
He's behind with his rent, he goes out too often, and drinks too much. He lies awake worrying about work, and despite being happily married, can't keep his hands off other women.
He gives us eyewitness accounts of some of the great events of the 17th century but he also tells us what people ate, wore, what they did for fun, the tricks they played on each other, what they expected of marriage, and of love affairs.
This BBC radio drama is on every day at 10.45 and again in the evening at 19.45. Episode 2 today.
Follow Samuel Pepys on Twitter. You get regular 140 characters or less updates.
Read his diary, offered on a the basis of 'on this day 350 years ago.'
Nothing's changed much, the most important things in our life are loves, family and friends. Our lives may touch on the politics and events of the time, they may not. Pepy's got through the restoration of the King, Plague and the Fire of London.
He so often ends is entry with, 'and so to bed'.
For radio for boring bits have been left out; it therfore reads like a novel.
Not a recommended style for these pages, but great for an external blog in Wordpress, Blogger or LiveJournal. Or my favourite, Diaryland.
If Samuel Pepys had he blogged would you have read it?
Pepys is about to be serialised on BBC Radio.
This occurs once a decade. The excuse might be his 350th anniversary.
Were he still alive, in his early thirties. Like the Robert Heinlein character Lazarua Long. What would his set have made of social media?
His blog would have been read as the day's events unfolded.
Would he have been able to keep his secrets for long?
Would leaks of practices in Admirality House appeared in Wikileaks?
Would citizen detective work spotted Pepys as he entered and later left massage parlours?
And whilst we may not witness the Fire of London, or the Great Plague, we have had Aids and Terrorist Attacks, riots too.
The essentials of life tick over as they have always done; we live, we love, we get things right and make mistakes, we carry on, we may survive into old age.
The trailer justifies why a young person might keep a diary.
Had millions been doing so in the 17th century would we be that interested in Pepys?
Possibly, given that those blogs that are published are easily described as nefarious and sordid.
They take lovers, they are unfaithful to other halves, they go to places and do things they would never otherwise have done?
Is this the would-be artist’s struggle?
Is this what defines a frustrated creative? The desire to express and share what they make of life and to have actions in their lives worth sharing.
I cannot read Pepys.
He would not have made an easy blog. He is cyrptic and inconsistent. The juicy moments are rare. It is a writer's journal, an aide-memoir.
It is all over the place mixing work and play.
But he never was looking for readers in his life time.
On how Pepys kept his diary
(From the author's diary 2/1/1993
With comments in relation to blogging in OU land.
Pepys composed his diary in five stages:
First, the accumulation of bills, minutes, official papers, news books and rough notes on a day's proceedings.
Second, the gathering of these into a form which combined accounts with diary style notes.
Third, the entering of the account and business matters into the appropriate manuscript/books, and the first revision of the general entries which were intended for the final manuscript.
Fourth, entry of these notes into the diary-book (with care and over time), adapted to the space.
Fifth, reading over the entries that had been made shortly before, making small corrections and stylistic improvements and inserting some further details at the ends of paragraphs and entries.'
From W. Matthews, 'Introduction to Pepys Diaries II, ppcii
How many steps do you take when writing your blog entry? One or none? That an workm but it can also be a flop. Are you saying what you meant? Should you be saying it at all? Who are you writing it for in any case? If it's meant for your Tutor do they pop by? Never. If it's meant for your Tutor group should they comment? I wish they would, just a note 'yep, been here' would do for me sometimes.
William Matthews goes on to say what makes a good diary and what makes a bad one.
'Almost all diaries that give genuine and protracted pleasure to an ordinary reader do so because the diarists possessed, instinctively or by training, some of the verbal, intellectual and emotional talents that characterise the novelist. Diaries are not novels; they are bound to reality, with its deplorable habit of providing excellent story situations and so artistically satisfactory ends.'
(What amuses me is the mixture of French, Spanish and Latin Pepys uses to hide what he was getting up to with various girls; not something the modern diariast would do, the detail of any encounter always producing the most hits. But diarist as novelist? Perhaps. Below you'll find an Oxford tutor making the case for journalism in essay writing style.)
But also the man, Pepys, because of his variety of amateur interests had a passion for life which sustains a diary which requires a rich weave of activity if it is to remain interesting.
'Pepys was a typical 17th century virtuoso, a man who justified himself by the diversity of his interests.'
W.M. Pepys VI, 'Diary as literature, ppCxii
'His literary instinct led Pepys to relate a story excitingly whenever the materials gave him the chance ... diaries bring a reader closer to human actuality than any other form of writing. As life-records they present a natural disorder and emphasis which is artfully rearranged in biography, and so somewhat corrupted. As self-delineations they deal directly with people and events which in the novel are subjected to the stresses and conventions of art and design. And in many ways they are the most natural and instinctive product of the art of writing.' (W.M. Pepys Vol 1, ppCXii)
Matthews, W et al (2000) Pepys' Diary (Highbridge Classics) (2000) Robert Latham, Samuel Pepys, Michael Maloney (edit contributors)
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