And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

25 February

Ki no Tsurayuki,

‘Just as yesterday the boat could not start. All the people were sighing most dolefully, for their hearts were sad at wasting so many days. How many did they amount to already? Twenty? Thirty? It would make my fingers ache to count them. At night he could not sleep and was in a melancholy mood. The rising moon, twenty days old, came up out of the midst of the sea, for there were no mountain-tops (for it to rise from).’

The earliest literary diary


Mary Boykin Chesnut,
wife of political aide

‘Everybody means to go into the army. If Sumter is attacked, then Jeff Davis’s troubles will begin. The Judge says a military despotism would be best for us - anything to prevent a triumph of the Yankees. All right, but every man objects to any despot but himself.’

Chesnut’s Civil War diary


Frances Dallam Peter,

‘Col. E. Dudley’s body arrived here Sunday and was attended from the cars to the Oddfellows Hall by the Mayor, Councilmen and crowd of citizens. The funeral oration was pronounced by Mr. Brank today at the Oddfellows Hall where the body lay in state. The 33rd Indiana, Col Coburn, the Lex Blues, Cap Wilgris, Odd fellows & masons, with some of the old Infantry Chasseurs, formed part of the procession with some of Dr. Dudleys men who came with him & a great many carriages. It was the largest funeral ever seen here (except Henry Clay’s).’

A stir in consequence


Thomas Hardy,

‘Sent a short hastily written novel to the Graphic for Summer Number.’ [lt was The Romantic Adventures of a Milkmaid.]

White phantoms, cloven tongues


Rudyard Kipling,

‘Sting of yesterday blinded me couldn’t see. Went to hospital Lawrie came over about mid day and looked at it. Attention more occupied by blain of my face. Must come to hospital tomorrow and see how cocaine works. Did not to go office.’

Something of myself


Robert Charles Benchley,
writer and actor

‘Fat and I went to the Town Hall and hear Jacob Riis lecture on “The Battle with the Slums.” Illustrated. Very interesting.’

I hope not a ‘what it was’


Dorothy Mackellar,

‘Went with Ruth to bathe at Bondi and couldn’t till 12.30 - the surf was so glorious too! So we paddled, and R. was nearly swept away and drenched from top to toe. We dried ourselves on a hot flat rock and we acted the Prevost Play! I think it was so courageous in cold blood on a salt morning. Really rather successful . . . Afternoon: Shopping, and I discovered my Boggabri story going the rounds of the American magazines, and they had illustrated it with a black bushman attired in leaves! - lovely. Evening: Wrote “The Lie”.’

I love a sunburnt country


Pierre Gilliard,

‘Colonel Kobylinsky has received a telegram informing him that, from March 1st, “Nicholas Romanoff and his family must be put on soldiers’ rations and that each member of the family will receive 600 roubles per month drawn from the interest of their personal estate.” Hitherto their expenses have been paid by the state. As the family consists of seven persons, the whole household will have to be run on 4,200 roubles a month.’

State of mental anguish


Robertson Davies,

‘Nothing in the Globe and Mail about my appointment because I write for the Star: what small behaviour! Write a Star column in the morning and a critique of Saint Joan. In the afternoon, loaf and read Jung; Rosamund comes for the weekend, very lively; in the evening go through Browning’s “Andrea del Sarto” with her and read Rabelais.’

Robertson Davies as diarist


Robertson Davies,

‘Bouts of sinus, headache, nausea, and cold sweats have left me unwell for the day. Brenda and I lay on sofas and read. Went for short walk. What a hateful winter! Every winter has its low point and I hope this it: is it age or bodily rot that brings this appalling tedium vitae?’

Robertson Davies as diarist


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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.