And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

23 March

Ki no Tsurayuki,

‘That evening as he went up to the Capital, he saw in the shops at Yamasaki the little boxes painted with pictures and the rice-cakes twisted into the shape of conch shells, just the same as ever; and he wondered if the hearts of shopkeepers also were the same. [. . .] Planning to arrive at the Capital by night, he did not hasten. The moon had risen, and he crossed the Katsura River in bright moonlight. [. . .] He recited this also:

Once Katsura’s Stream
Seemed to me as far away
As the clouds of heaven
Now, while crossing, I perceive
It has wet my dipping sleeve.

And again he composed this:
Well I know my heart
And the River Katsura
Never were alike:
Yet in depth my heart would seem
Not unlike the flowing stream.

These too many verses are due to his excessive pleasure at reaching the Capital.’

The earliest literary diary


Thomas Gyll,

‘The wife of Robert Spearman of Oldacres, near Sedgefield, esq., who died the last week at his house in Old Elvet, having lingered of a palsy, was this day buried with great funeral pomp in Bow church in Durham.

And the same day old Henry Pratt, the bell-ringer, was buried at St. Mary’s, South Bailey, aged near 90. He had formerly been coachman to Dean Comber.’

Who died the last week


George Brinton McClellan,

‘Firing continued from our mortars steadily - fire of enemy by no means so warm as when we opened on the day before. Our mortar platforms were much injured by the firing already. The 24 pounder battery had to be re-revetted entirely - terreplein levelled. During this day and night the magazine was excavated, and the frame put up. Two traverses made the positions of platforms and embrasures determined. Two platforms laid and the guns run in the embrasures for them being partly cut. One other gun was run to the rear of the battery.’

McClellan’s war in Mexico


William Butler Yeats,

‘March 23d. McDonagh called to-day. Very sad about Ireland. Says that he finds a barrier between himself and the Irish-speaking peasantry, who are “cold, dark and reticent” and “too polite”. He watches the Irish-speaking boys at his school, and when nobody is looking, or when they are alone with the Irish-speaking gardener, they are merry, clever and talkative. When they meet an English speaker or one who has learned Gaelic, they are stupid. They are a different world. Presently, he spoke of his nine years in a monastery and I asked what it was like, “Oh” he said, “everybody is very simple and happy enough. There is a little jealousy sometimes. If one brother goes into town with a Superior, another brother is jealous.” ’

The poet’s labour


Mary Fuller,

‘I did battle with the dressmaker and tailor today. Dressmakers have whims of their own which cannot be dislodged, just as the genus “chauffeur” always goes down the street you dont wish to go down. Sweet perversities that come from heaven to test our patience and make us stronger! The dressmaker’s art is necessary, and no lovely thing can be born save with much travail.’

What happened to Mary


Dawn Powell,

‘For a writer or artist there is nothing to equal the elation of escaping into solitude. The excited feeling of stolen rapture I feel on closing the door of this little room up here, knowing no one can find me, no one will speak to me. I look over rooftops into sky and far-off towers. This is exactly like my sensation of sheer exhilaration as a child when I got up into the attic or in the treetop or under a tree way off by the road where I was alone with a sharp pencil and notebook.’

Powell’s diaries auctioned


Deborah Bull,

‘Another year older. I have just filled in a survey on the tube and noticed that I have moved one box further in the great pigeon hole of life. I can no longer tick the 25-34 age group. I’ve moved into the 35-44 bracket. Blimey. How did that happen? Last time I looked I was 21.

I have also realised with a jolt that table dancing is out of the question as an alternative career. Today I bought The Stage, whose arts news has been bang on this year, in an effort to find word about the implications for us of Gordon Brown’s budget. No luck, so I flicked through the employment pages instead. All the adverts seeking dancers (mostly for cruise liners and clubs) stipulate that applicants must be under the age of 35. I’ve missed my chance. I guess I’m more of a laptop dancer than a lap dancer, so it’s no great hardship. I suppose there’s always a career for me as a touch typist.

I’m on my way home from a meeting with Sir Richard Eyre; the name becomes flesh at last. He’s a strikingly good-looking man with such an air of weariness that I wanted to gather him up and take him home for a hot dinner. I was suprised to have been asked to contribute to the ongoing debate over the Opera House’s future which will form the basis of his report. But apparently various people had assured him that he really must hear what I had to say on the matter.’

A laptop dancer


Clare Short,

‘. . . terrible week - decided to stay in the Gov - horrendous media and bitter disappointment to all who were buoyed by my threat to resign.’

No. 10 hostile to me


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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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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

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