And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

11 June

1510
Luca Landucci,
tradesman

‘A thunderbolt fell at San Donnino, killing a father and son, and two other children of his were frightened out of their wits and had fallen ill.

At this time a girl was found drowned in a well, and it was never discovered who she was, no one seeming to know her; and there seemed no one in all the country round who had lost anyone.’

Earthquakes in Florence

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1825
Thomas Robert Malthus,
economist

‘Town - marks of the wealth and splendour of the middle ages. Cathedrale de St Bavo rich in marble. Pulpit by Delvaux. Statue of Bishop Trieste by Quesnoy. Chch. St Michael. Crucifixion by Vandyke - a very fine picture, but dirty, and not distinct. -another copy in Academy in better order, but not reckoned so good. Van Kraeger. Boxon sculptor - single portrait of himself.

Nunnery. Town Hall Gothic side superb.

Sabots, women without stockings. Blue Carters frocks. Cotton cloaks.’

The cost of men and food

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1831
Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
poet

‘Sam told me that Hope End is advertised in the Sun newspaper, to be sold in August - no name, but a full description. He & Bro heard it yesterday from Henry Trant!. I begged him to tell nobody, & to let me tell Bummy [Arabella Graham-Clarke, Elizabeth’s aunt]. Ran down stairs & found Bummy in the drawing room by herself. Told her. She shed tears - we both shed tears! When will tears cease to be shed? She seems to fear the worst: but mentioned that Papa had written to Sam, who, he says, is able to assist him. If he is able, he is willing - if he is still Sam! So there may still be hope in that quarter. There is fear in every other. In every other? Can I not still look unto the hill from whence cometh my hope? That hope is a hope of spiritual blessing; but I have found & known it to be one of temporal comfort also! Walked out with Bummy & Arabel, on the bank on the other side of the water. Strangers may soon walk there, with other feelings than mine. Read as I have often done lately, not for the pleasure of thinking: but for the comfort of not thinking. Papa in better spirits. How often I thought of Mr Boyd today! He is the only person in this neighbourhood, whom it will affect my happiness to leave. . .’

Elizabeth at Hope End

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1937
Sigmund Freud,
doctor

‘Anna’s accident’

Anna with Gestapo

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1944
Ingeborg Bachmann,
writer

‘Liesl’s falllen in love with an Englishman, he’s immensely lean and tall and he’s called Bob. She says he’s very rich and went to Oxford. She talks of nothing else but him. Yesterday she said her only wish was to get away from here and go to England. I think she hopes he’ll marry her. But marriage between the English and Austrian women is forbidden by the military government. She said the wretched conditions here are never going to end and she’s been through too much, she can’t take any more and she wants to have a life at last. I can well understand her but then I get annoyed with her because she thinks I ought to marry an Englishman too and get away from here. Of course I want to get away but so that I can go to university and I’ve no desire to get married at all, not even to an Englishman for a few tins of food and silk stockings. Most of the English who are here are very nice and, I believe, decent. But I’m much too young, Arthur and Bill are very nice and we often talk a lot together and laugh a lot. We often play games like ‘Drop the Handkerchief’ and ‘Statues’ in the garden. Arthur’s always giving little Heinerle chocolate and a few days ago he suddenly went to Mummy, who’s still bedridden, and put some tea and biscuits on the quilt for her. She calls him Carrot-top because he has such red hair and she likes him best. I think he’s in love with Liesl as well. Bill too, but even more, and Arthur’s terribly jealous of Bob. Bob is quite unapproachable, we once spoke a couple of words but never again, not even when I thanked him for letting Liesl have the car to bring her mother back from hospital.’

Bachmann’s diary fragment

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1949
Kenneth Williams,
actor and writer

‘Went to the Bank and arranged to have my account transferred to Newquay. Deposited £7 - which means that £3.10.0 a week saved, since I started on full salary, which is not so good. Must do better than this.

Richard came to my room and read this! - funny he’s the only one I’ve ever allowed to read my private and so personal! diary. But s’pose that apart from S., he’s the only one I can really trust, who will never abuse my confidence.

Met some queers in the New, and got sent up by two young matelots - rotten! awful!’

Carry on carping

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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.

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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, usually several every week. The blog has been publishing for over five years, and is the secondary source for the diary extracts in this online anthology.