And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

18 August

William Gladstone,

‘Rose to breakfast, but uneasily. Attempted reading, and read most of Baxter’s narrative. Not too unwell to reflect.’

An account book of time


Richard Wagner,

‘Sick and wretched. Bad cold: fever! Lonely here - Can’t so much as move. Franz lamenting. You know how quick I am to take the extreme view!

But I wanted to write at least one line in the book. It ought to help, complaining to you. Let’s see. Hope so - Ah, how wretched man is! - Even the sky is bleak.’

How storms rage ever


Kido Takayoshi,

‘We hoisted anchor after 6. Between 9 and 11 we sailed offUraga to Miyata. It was in this area that more than ten years ago the Chōshū guard encampment was established. I was stationed here for more than a year; and my campmates included Kuribara Seikō and other friends, half of whom are new deceased. In these times I never cease to think back on days gone by, and my tears flow without end. At twilight we reached the port of Shimoda.’

An absurd thing to do


Isaac Albéniz,

‘I have visited Liszt. He received me in the most amiable manner. I played two of my Etudes and a Hungarian Rhapsody. To all appearances he was much pleased with me, especially when I improvised a complete dance on a Hungarian theme which he gave me. He asked me all sorts of questions about Spain, my parents, my religious opinions, and, finally, about music in general. I told him quite frankly and decidedly that I gave no thought to any of those things, which seemed to please him. I am to return the day of after tomorrow.’

Albéniz and Liszt (or not)


Aleksander Rodchenko,

‘In the evening Mam and I like to sit and talk over tea. I love it when she tells stories. The lamp. . . A little samovar . . . Her father was a sailor, served twenty-five years. He was a small, nimble man with a pointed beard and gray eyes. He married a girl from a rich peasant home. And left for the Turkish campaign . . . Their ship was destroyed, and he floated on the wreckage with other sailors, there were fifteen of them. They floated for a long time, three days, hungry and cold. They were taken on board a ship and brought home. Her papa was sick for a long time . . . He was given a job at a gunpowder factory, where he worked stuffing the cartridges with gunpowder. But he soon died . . . They had to go to Petersburg, where my Mama’s mama took up a position. Mama was given away for one chervonets, she was seven years old. . . She babysat the kids. And that’s how her life began . . .’

Photos to surprise and amaze


Bertolt Brecht,

‘by offering only formal criteria for realism LUKÁCS, whose significance is that he writes from moscow, is in the final estimate handing readers who are avid to learn on a plate to those famous contemporary bourgeois novelists on whom he has bestowed great, if slightly embarrassed compliments, because they display the said formal features (even if they are not so ‘happy’, ‘pure’ and ‘creative’ as the old masters of the great early period). they become his realists (he allays any suspicion by contrasting them with a form of ‘decadence’, to which DOS passos and presumably i too belong), whose descriptions exclude the class struggle (‘do not not take sufficiently into account’, ‘do not yet fully encompass’), so that the reader himself then has to unravel the complicated reflections which the ‘decadents’ incorporate in their books, the very reflections which establish that the events depicted derive from the class struggle. they all display LUKÁCS’S hallmarks, HEINRICH MANN presents such a ‘tangle’ of different human fates in his HENRI QUATRE that nobody can find his way around in it, and doesn’t his brother THOMAS unfold the ‘whole life of the biblical joseph’ in all its ultimate fullness! in HAMSUN we have ‘very involved, very indirect relationships’ by the dozen, the class struggle is less in evidence in all three, but naturally we can add that for ourselves, for ‘in the last resort’ everything is class struggle, such obtuseness is monumental.’

The concept of decadence


Charles Kikuchi,

‘The movies were scheduled for eight o’clock and the place was not supposed to be open until 7:30, but the 1500 people were in line by 6:35. It extended all the way down past the postoffice in three columns. The shows are given every Monday, Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday night with 1500 people attending each showing. Only the first 7 or 800 to get in can see the picture very well. This week a lot of blankets were put up against the windows to darken the place and two loudspeakers have been installed on the girders crossing the large room.

The Issei are as bad as the kids when it comes to pushing and crowding in. They just come and plop down on any space that is even left slightly open. And they take their shoes off! Seeing a show is a form of self torture. One sits on the floor and the cushions do not eliminate the hardness of the boards. Soon your back gets tired and the feet cramped. You shuffle around to get an easier position and step on somebody’s hand. The owner of the hand turns around and gives you a dirty look. About half way through the picture, your neck gets awfully stiff from looking up at an angle. With people pressing in on you from both sides, you feel suffocated. And to add further torture the sound is not very clear. But in spite of all this, everyone that can walk to the grandstands comes for the show. This week Abbott and Costello in “Hold That Ghost” was playing. The audience really seemed to enjoy the picture, but I thought it was a bit corny. But why should I be an old wet blanket?

The film scheduled for next week was “Citizen Kane” but Yoshio K. told me that he had to cancel it upon the request of Mr. Thompson of the Rec. Department, who claimed that the picture would be too deep for 80% of the audience and he thought that comedies should be shown.’

The Americanization process


Charles Ritchie,

‘With me love for a woman is always linked with a need to betray that love; a compulsion which I dread and desire. But there are times when that interminable dialogue of marriage seems interminable. It gives one a feeling of pure pain to think that it must go on and on and on. I am pretty sure that I should feel that whoever I had married.’

V happy with E


Evelyn Waugh,

‘The original day’s visit to Birmingham to see the Pre-Raphaelites became extended. With Laura, Teresa, Margaret and £30 we drove off in the afternoon. A letter to propose our stopping at Stanway brought no answer so I presumed Letty Benson to be away. I also wrote to Lady Olivier telling her we shall be in the audience on Friday. We stopped in Evesham while the children had tea. As we approached Birmingham the evening became hotter and heavier. Birmingham was humid and over- powering. We arrived at Queen’s Hotel where I found that our rooms for the night would cost £9. The children had ‘bubble’ baths, the salts for which we had purchased in Cheltenham. Laura and I drank Pimm’s No. 1 Cup in the cocktail bar where there was a cool breeze and an intoxicated dwarf. A ham sandwich and then on foot to the theatre where we sweated through a tedious farce. Back to dinner. The servants very civil in the hotel, the rooms poky, airless and shabby. But the girls in high spirits.’

Waugh’s appalling diaries


Peter Pears,

‘After our expedition to Pushkin’s memorial, Ben spent 24 hours in bed with tummy in extremis. Every imaginable remedy was proferred and taken, Alka-Seltzer, Enterobioform, manganese in solution and stewed pomegranate leaves. All of which, in ensemble, proved effective and Ben was OK in 48 hours. Well enough, yesterday, to go for a gentle drive down the river past Dilidjan to Idjevan, through high mountains of bare rock on the west side and craggy bristling rocky precipices all covered over with forest on the east side. Superb trees of all sorts, and willows in the rushing, clear pebbly water. Our driver has been chastened and we went seldom more than 30 mph. It was, of course, much more pleasant and we could really look at this superb and ‘horrid’ country.

Ben’s two days’ hors de combat, one in bed and one on the sofa, produced, as it so often does, intense creative energy. He has now just written his 5th Pushkin song, and Galya, who is to sing them, heard them for the first time this afternoon. She was deeply affected, as I knew she would be, and wants to get at them at once. Slava, too, was highly excited. I am pegging on at the translations.

Last night after dinner we had heard a record of Edik Mirzoyan’s Symphony for Strings and Timps on a very bad gramophone which didn’t give the work much chance, to his distress. It has some nice sounds and is felt and tense, though the last movement was played too slow and sounded ineffective. Tonight another leading residing composer is going to play a piece of his to us.’

Peter Pears centenary


Pope John Paul II,

‘Morning prayers [illegible]; (Rosary); Lauds; Holy Mass; thanksgiving; Matins; Prime; Act of Consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary

Meditation: Referring back to the retreat of 1963,1 wish to expand on the topic of ‘justification’. I find this topic academically (theologically) appealing and at the same time internally, personally important. The topic develops into a reflection on theological virtues, i.e. divine virtues.

Faith. The catechisms definition: ‘to accept as true all that God has revealed to us and that holy Church proposes for our belief’ can be interpreted and even experienced in different ways. The intellectualist (ideological) interpretation is different from the personalist (charitological) interpretation. It is not only about the sum of truths (propositions) which the mind accepts through the authority of ‘God who reveals them’ - and more directly: Christ, the Church (cf. motiva credibilitatis [compare motives of credibility]). It is about the specific supernatural relationship of man - a person - with the personal God (Trinitas SS [the Holy Trinity]). The nearer foundation of this relationship is the mind (reason). The proper subject matter of this human faculty is truth. Faith is a readiness, indeed, it is an act of reason which is ready to accept God’s truth as its own truth. Communicatio in veritate cum Deo [Communion with God in truth]. It is probably the highest act - one of the highest acts - in a relationship of a person to a person. This readiness to communicate in truth becomes, in a particular way, renewed through revelation, and in general with its help (in its extension lies theology). Faith consists in the acceptance of revelation, but it is possible thanks to the readiness of the mind mentioned above, which revelation takes for granted and simultaneously makes fully possible.

The Way of the Cross: main theme ‘viator - comprehensor’ (‘wayfarer - comprehensor’]; The Little Hours; Reading the schemas; Vespers for Wednesday

Adoration: it somehow provides me with topics for the afternoon meditation

Meditation on practical issues: dialogue, the Church of dialogue, others separately Matins; Spiritual reading; Compline’

A pope's unworldly diaries


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And so made significant . . .
is the world’s greatest online anthology of diary extracts. It is presented in the same way as popular books like The Assassin’s Cloak and The Faber Book of Diaries, i.e. by calendar day, but contains more, and many longer, extracts than is possible in published books. Moreover, for each quoted extract there’s a link to a Diary Review article with some or all of the following: further extracts, biographical information, contexts, a portrait, and links to online sources/etexts. Furthermore, new extracts are added on a regular basis.

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Notes and Cautions
In general, these diary extracts are quoted as given in the published (book or online) source referred to in the reference articles. Each extract may be all, a large part of, or a small part of the complete entry for that day. I have tried to indicate where text has been removed from within a quote by the use of trailing dots in square bracket.

For any other use of these diary extracts other than browsing please refer to the original sources.

Any author, publisher or other copyright holder who takes the view that I am unacceptably breaching their copyright please let me know. I have tried to remain sensitive to copyright rules (using far fewer quotes, for example, when a book, by an author still alive, remains in print and popular), but it is not practical for me to seek authorisation for every quote and article, since I maintain these websites without any funding or advertis-ing. I take the view that publicity for the source books is a quid pro quo for my use of the extracts, but I am more than happy to remove the extracts if asked.

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The Diary Junction is one of those wonderful privately maintained public resources for which the Internet is justly celebrated: a database of information about celebrated and obscure diaries[over 500] from all historical periods, with referrals to the dates the diaries cover, where the originals are held and bibliographic information on published versions.’ Laura Miller, Salon

The Diary Review, hosted by Blogger, publishes magazine-style articles on diaries and diarists, several times a week. Now over ten years old, The Diary Review is the secondary source for the extracts in this online anthology.