And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

18 May

Thomas Archer Hirst,

‘A little shrivelled gouty old man [Liouville] has become and very garrulous. It was with difficulty I broke away from him.’

A shrivelled gouty old man


Robert Hooke,

‘At Sir J. Mores. Player and Oliver Dogs. at Holburne conduit. - in quest of Sir Chr: Wren at Lords house. Mr. Colwall walked with Titus. Gave Grace chocolatt. Discoursed with Sir Chr: Wren. Noe money but to contribute towards his losse by wells and account. Dind with Boyl. Walkd with Scarborough in the park. Met with Montacue. Told Sir Christopher my Longitude inventions. Met the King in the Park. he shewd watch, affirmed it very good.’

Boglice round the neck


Charles Abbot,
lawyer and politician

‘Bellingham was executed at Newgate.’

An agony of tears


John Nash,

‘London - called upon Lord Wenlock - read the Papers at the Atheneum - went to Evans the bookseller - and in the Evening to the German opera - Lord Grey announced that he & his colleagues had resumed office -’

Dined at Lyons


Edward John Eyre,
explorer and administrator

‘This morning we had to travel upon a soft heavy beach, and moved slowly and with difficulty along, and three of the horses were continually attempting to lie down on the road. At twelve miles, we found some nice green grass, and although we could not procure water here, I determined to halt for the sake of the horses. The weather was cool and pleasant. From our camp Mount Ragged bore N. 35 degrees W., and the island we had seen for the last two days, E. 18 degrees S. Having seen some large kangaroos near our camp, I sent Wylie with the rifle to try and get one. At dark he returned bringing home a young one, large enough for two good meals; upon this we feasted at night, and for once Wylie admitted that his belly was full. He commenced by eating a pound and a half of horse-flesh, and a little bread, he then ate the entrails, paunch, liver, lights, tail, and two hind legs of the young kangaroo, next followed a penguin, that he had found dead upon the beach, upon this he forced down the whole of the hide of the kangaroo after singeing the hair off, and wound up this meal by swallowing the tough skin of the penguin; he then made a little fire, and laid down to sleep, and dream of the pleasures of eating, nor do I think he was ever happier in his life than at that moment.’

Along the Rocky river


Peter Hawker,
soldier and hunter

‘A beautiful day. Crossed to Yarmouth, and got driven to Freshwater for the fine sea air, but too weak to walk along the cliffs. Lots of ‘gents’ popping at rock birds and rifling the cormorants, and rookeries being stormed inland. All to tantalise me, like the gents having good sport angling the other day in view of my windows at Longparish, and I too ill to go out.’

A life spent hunting


Francis Lieber,
philosopher and teacher

‘Unanimously elected Professor of History and Political Science in Columbia College. Immense number of letters of congratulation and papers; North and South speak highly of the appointment. House-hunting all the time.’

Lieber’s Life and Letters


Mountstuart Elphinstone Grant Duff,

‘Daud Shah, the late Commander-in-Chief of the Afghan Army, one of the handsomest and most gigantic men I ever saw, dined with us. In the evening, someone showed him a picture of Mecca, in a recent number of the Graphic. He asked, “Where is the Caaba?” And, on its being pointed out to him, lifted it to his forehead and kissed it.’

Good-natured books


Arthur Graeme West,

‘A hot day. We did fire-control all the time under the Adjutant, Brigade Officer, &c. One noted, first, their utter inability to teach us anything because there were too many superannuated old martinets trying to do it at the same time; secondly, the lack of doctrine among them all: even if they could have taught, they knew nothing. The way we were taught musketry was laughable. The whole Company was kept in close order, echeloned in half-companies at twenty paces, and moved up and down the field first in single rank, then in ordinary close formation, finally halted in echelon, and given fire-orders by the Platoon Commander and Sectional Commanders, with front rank kneeling, rear rank standing; the C.O. meanwhile stood in the background for a long time, checking people in a peevish ineffectual way for minor irrelevances. It was always the same thing with us; we had three men shouting at us at once when we were on parade, each one eager to outshine the others in his keenness in detecting faults and the strength and accuracy of his denunciation of the offender. It was always impossible to please them all, and when one had you alone he was sure to scold you for methods on which the others had been fondly insistent. Our instructors, and even our officers, were not above confessing that they didn’t know the drill which they were supposed to be there to teach us.’

Shambles in the dug-outs


Iris Murdoch,

‘Looking back in this diary. What an unstable person I seem to be ... I shall be to blame if I don’t build now where I know it is strong, in the centre, through loneliness. (Aloneness) ... I wrote today on the top of my lecture paper: marriage, an idea of reason!’

On Magpies, on!


Tim Dixon,
economist and businessman

‘So Rudd has suffered what is I think the second largest collapse in voter support in polling history. But there’s also a way in which this just reflects his own approach to politics. He sees it as a rational process where you can make the right decisions simply by absorbing more and more information about polling research and policy - there’s no sense of the gut feel or intuition. . . He wants to be on the 50 per cent plus one side of every argument.’

Working with Kevin


Pikle - The Diary Review - The Diary Junction - Contact

And so made significant . . .
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and The Diary Junction - are maintained privately without any funding or advertising. Please consider supporting their author/editor by purchasing one or more of his books: the memoir, Why Ever Did I Want to Write, and the Not a Brave New World trilogy.
Thank you.

Why Ever Did I Want to Write is a patchwork of themed stories about one man’s early life, embracing highs and lows but driven by a desire to make the most of being alive, to experience, to feel, and above all to understand. Reminiscent of Karl Knausgaard’s A Death in the Family and Theodore Zeldin’s An Intimate History of Humanity, this memoir, often based on diaries, sees Lyons reflecting on a repressed childhood, exploring the world through years of travelling, and searching for meaning and excitement in the arts and love affairs – an archetype of the counterculture in the 1970s and 1980s.

Not a Brave New World is an extraordinary fictional memoir, a trilogy in three wives, spanning the whole of the 21st century: one man’s - Kip Fenn’s - frank account, sometimes acutely painful and sometimes surprisingly joyful, of his three partners, and his career in international diplomacy working to tackle the rich-poor divide.

GILLIAN - Book 1 - Amazon (US/UK)
Kip Fenn’s first love is in a coma. His father suddenly isn’t his father. After formative trips to Brussels and Brazil, Kip wins a civil service job. Unfortunately, a media baron discovers his sexual weakness and is blackmailing him for government secrets. If only Kip could find solace in his wife’s arms or joy in his children.

DIANA - Book 2 - Amazon (US/UK)
Kip Fenn is a success: his career has taken off within a major UN agency trying to spread wealth from the rich to the poor. But all is not well with the world - the golden age of oil and chips is now over, and unsustainable development is leading to social turmoil, and to world war. Kip has found love and a new family, but he can find no way to stop his older children self-destruct; nor does he realise his partner’s deceit.

LIZETTE - Book 3 - Amazon (US/UK)
Third time lucky - Kip Fenn finds true love. His UN career though is ending with a whimper. Another terrible war is cut short by the devastating Grey Years, and while nations rebuild many individuals turn Notek. In restless retirement, Kip’s lifelong passion for vintage photos sees him launching a new arts institution. But who is the mysterious visitor by his bedside, and how will she affect his planned deathday?


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.

in diary days



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.