And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

16 February

John Henry Newman,

‘a bad cold at this time’

The pithy diary of a saint


William Daunt,

‘Accompanied my son to Dunmanway, where he, as a magistrate, had to register claims to vote for Poor Law Guardians. One of the claimants was a fine old relic of the last century, aged 97; he remembers the French fleet in Bantry Bay. . .’

The Irish Difficulty


Heinrich Schenker,

‘Exceptionally, at Privy Counselor Redlich’s place, played with companions’ quartet. Unbearable atmosphere; good looks made for bad playing. ’

Diaries of a musical theorist


Dorothy Shakespear,

‘ “Ezra”. Listen to it - Ezra! Ezra! - And a third time - Ezra!. He has a wonderful, beautiful face, a high forehead, prominent over the eyes; a long, delicate nose, with little, red, nostrils; a strange mouth, never still, & quite elusive; a square chin, slighly cleft in the middle - the whole face pale; the eyes gray-blue; the hair golden-brown, and curling in soft wavy crinkles. Large hands, with long, well-shaped, fingers, and beautiful nails.

Some people have complained of untidy boots - how could they look at his boots, when there is his moving, beautiful face to watch? Oh! fools, fools! They are the fools one cannot “suffer gladly”. I do not think he knows he is beautiful.

At first he was shy - he spoke quickly, (with a strong, odd, accent, half American, half Irish) he sat back in his chair; but afterwards, he suddenly dropped down, cross-legged, with his back to the fire: then he began to talk - He talked of Yeats, as one of the Twenty of the world who have added to the World’s poetical matter - He read a short piece of Yeats, in a voice dropping with emotion, in a voice like Yeats’s own - He spoke of his interest in all the Arts, in that he might find things of use in them for his own - which is the Highest of them all.

“Have you ever seen things in a crystal?” I asked - And he looked at me, smiling, & answered “I see things without a crystal”. He suggested the Great Inspiration he was waiting for. That he wished above all things to be in readiness, open-minded and waiting, on the Great Day when it should come. For he evidently believes it will come. “You should never get up from a book tired” - he said. [. . .]

Oh! Ezra! how beautiful you are! With your pale face and fair hair! I wonder - are you a genius? or are you only an artist in Life?

How can people look at his boots, instead of his face - It is they who impossible, not he - not the beautiful Ezra. He said of one college, that it was only another tract of the barren waste - and suffered that which is untellable.’

Are you a genius?


Heinrich Schenker,

‘From Sophie (letter): concerning her husband’s health. From UE, account: 82.04 shillings; 47 copies of Brahms, and one volume - Theory of Harmony!! - Via a telephone call to Deutsch, Mrs. van Hoboken gets in touch! Lie-Liechen invites her for afternoon snack tomorrow. I play two movements from suites by Handel to the members of my seminar. After teatime, at Fritz ’s. From Oppel (postcard): he provides the [relevant] issue of Die Zukunft. ’

Diaries of a musical theorist


Galeazzo Ciano,

‘François-Poncet, whom I had not seen for a long time, complains about our press attacks, and especially those appearing in the Popolo d’ltalia. French newspapers, for the time being, are not reacting, but relations between the two countries are suffering from this nonetheless, and the atmosphere of better understanding which we had established in the last few months has been upset once again. I used some kind words, but nothing more, since the press campaign is desired and directed personally by the Duce, my influence being very limited.

Donegani is worried about the coal problem. If our supplies are reduced or cease entirely in the next few days, industry will suffer a sudden stoppage with dire consequences in the field of production and labor.

I receive Sidorovici, leader of the Romanian Youth Movement. Some leader! He is a big hulk, a preposterous creature devoid of any interest.’

I like Mussolini, very much


Rywka Lipszyc,

‘And … one secret … my cousins are almost out of marmalade and brown sugar, but Cipka and I still have quite a lot. This morning we were going to work (Cipka and I) and she told me that on Sunday when we went to get our rations, Chanusia said to Estusia that we’d finish our marmalade and sugar very quickly and they’d have to share theirs with us. Estusia replied, “I surely wouldn’t think otherwise.”

Stupid cousins, you were so wrong! I have my own satisfaction. I haven’t thought of being as “generous” as you! I don’t even think about it. Ha, ha, ha, at the bottom of my heart I’m sneering at them. Anyway, it’s not worth pondering over! Times are terrible … many people have left … there is hunger … but I’ve already written about it. I feel something, but I can’t express it, though I’d like to. I’d like to help everybody … I’d like to be helpful … I’d like to be useful! I’m full of these inexpressible emotions. I don’t know … it’s connected with my longing and I’m so sad. But I can’t be overwhelmed by sadness, because I know that nothing good will come out of it. I’m against evil … I want kindness! I do want it! There is a saying, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” but it doesn’t apply in my case … because I want to do so much … so much, but what can I do? Little, very little, almost nothing…’

I don’t feel like living


Guy Liddell,
intelligence officer

‘I then asked BURGESS what his next move was. He said that there was a serious accusation on his file, which he considered to be ill-founded, and that if it stood against him his career in the Foreign Office would, to say the least, be seriously blighted. He wondered, therefore, whether, in view of his explanations, the whole thing could be expunged from the record. I said that as far as I was concerned I could not answer for the Foreign Office, but that I would certainly let them know about the specific charges which I had made and BURGESS’s replies.’

He shines in the dark


Maila Nurmi,

‘Date at Thrifty with T.P. - one hr & 10 min. only - he played it sensuous. He left to rehearse with Piper Laurie. Is Osgood Perkins little boy playing hard to get?’

However, hot on the heels of Sandra’s book has come The Vampira Diaries, written and/or compiled by Jonny Coffin. This is available from the official Vampira website at a cost $89 for a limited edition of one of the 1,000 hand-stamped books. The publisher says: ‘This is sure to be a highly collectable Vampira treasure. The Vampira Diaries are a collection of Maila Nurmi’s personal diaries starting from the year 1953 during her Hollywood rise to fame with the groundbreaking Vampira Show. Featuring unearthed, never-before-seen photos, original scripts, news clips from her personal scrapbook, excerpts written in her own hand, and scores of rare photos from the inception of Vampira 1954-1956.’

Vampira - The first Goth?


Paul K Lyons,

‘Completion Day. The nervous lanky solicitor kept ringing me up all morning to clarify the position of the keys. She’s on her way to Kilburn as though Kilburn were north of Newcastle. 13 Aldershot Road, NW6. Keep it simple. Like it simple. Never was a house owner before.

A nervous sort of tension has kept me high and arrogant for days with little peace of mind to sit and write. The new house has kept me more preoccupied than the thought of the new job at McGraw-Hill.

I pack slowly in an effort to sift my jumble of belongings. There is little of value and little of quality from one end of them to the other, from scalfs to furniture, from cutlery to enlarger. Despite a tingling excitement about the new house, I am also acutely aware that it will be full of the same possessions. Books are a bind. They fill endless boxes and make them heavy. Why do I keep such books, old Penguins, hard back copies of Dickens, compilations of 50s photographs, Time Life books on the sea and the like. And trousers. What do I do with those baggy flares that swallow up the carpet as well as my feet? Will they ever come back into fashion? Chuck ’em. And those new trousers with a waist too tight for my stomach line. Do I keep old jumpers with holes in to work on the car. Chuck ’em, Chuck ’em not, Chuck ’em . . .’

Chuck ‘em


Brian Eno,

‘Write Roger / Shoes / Mark Baldwin 2.00 / Peter Schwartz / Call James Putnam / Laurie stuff.

Nightmare about falling off a cliff, screaming into the wind, clinging on to a tiny ledge with elbows and fingertips, knowing no one above - including Anton Corbijn - would bear me, know ing I must soon fall and crash on the rocks below.

Wasn’t looking forward to today, but it turned out OK. Tons of annoying little jobs to do but I managed to work on some of Laurie’s stuff, which turned out so well I suddenly had the idea to suggest each Self-Storage project use one of Laurie’s pieces as its ‘content’ - ready-made content. Faxed and talked to David Blarney about this, and he liked it. It solves a lot of problems, giving the students the choice of making ‘frames’ rather than ‘content’ if they want to. I always prefer making frames: making context rather than content.

In the evening to the Browns’ for dinner. Emma said all she wanted to do when she grew up was have children - and write a book at the age of 50.’

Happy birthday Brian Eno


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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.

SITE DEVISED by Paul K Lyons

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.