And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

29 March

1629
William Laud,
priest

‘Sunday, Two papers were found in the Dean of Paul’s yard before his house. The one was to this effect concerning myself: Laud, look to thyself; be assured thy life is sought. As thou art the fountain of all wickedness, repent thee of thy monstrous sins, before thou be taken out of the world &c. And assure thyself, neither God nor the world can endure such a vile counsellor to live, or such a whisperer; or to this effect. The other was as bad as this, against the Lord Treasurer. Mr. Dean delivered both papers to the King that night. Lord, I am a grievous sinner; but I beseech Thee, deliver my soul from them that hate me without a cause.’

My picture fallen

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1821
Benjamin Haydon,
artist

‘Keats is gone too! [A few weeks earlier, Haydon had written of the death of John Scott, editor of the London Magazine, after a duel.] He died at Rome, Feby. 23rd, aged 25. Poor Keats - a genius more purely poetical never existed. [. . .]

The death of his brother [in December 1818] wounded him deeply, and it appeared to me from that hour he began seriously to droop. He wrote at this time his beautiful ode to the nightingale. ‘Where Youth grows pale & spectre thin & dies!’ - alluded to his poor Brother.

As we were walking along the Kilburn meadows, he repeated this beautiful ode, with a tremulous undertone, that was extremely affecting! I was attached to Keats, & he had great enthusiasm for me. I was angry because he would not bend his great powers to some definite object, & always told him so. Latterly he grew angry because I shook my head at his irregularity, and told him he was destroying himself.

The last time I saw him was at Hampstead, lying in a white bed with a book, hectic, weak, & on his back, irritable at his feebleness, and wounded at the way he had been used; he seemed to be going out of the world with a contempt for this and no hopes of the other.’

Thirst after grandeur

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1995
Wim Wenders,
director

‘Sixty-fourth day of shoot. The last day. My shoot ends on the day all the newspapers are carrying photographs of Michelangelo with Jack Nicholson. They’re all full of reports of Oscar night, and I buy all the newspapers I can lay my hands on, especially the Italian ones. [. . .]

My first thanks are due to Robby and Donata. As the evening goes on, with all of us eating at a buffet in a hall off the studio, it gradually sinks in that this adventure is over for the moment. There’s still the editing and the post-production to come, but they can’t be as risky or as onerous as the shooting.

Someone turns up the music, and we dance ourselves off our feet.

I fall into bed exhausted. I dream that Jeanne Moreau wants to come out of the painting too, but for some reason I can’t do it for her. I know I’ll be dreaming of the filming for weeks to come; I always do when I’ve finished a shoot. And they’re always dreams where something impossible has to be done, too. I’ve never been on a shoot where I haven’t been plagued by these nightmares afterwards.’

Shooting with Antonioni

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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.