And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

9 May

1662
Samuel Pepys,
civil servant

‘Thence with Mr Salisbury, who I met there, into Covent Garden to an alehouse, to see a picture that hangs there, which is offered for 20s., and I offered fourteen - but it is worth much more money - but did not buy it, I having no mind to break my oath. Thence to see an Italian puppet play that is within the rayles there, which is very pretty, the best that ever I saw, and great resort of gallants. So to the Temple and by water home, and so walk upon the leads, and in the dark there played upon my flageolette [a woodwind musical instrument], it being a fine still evening, and so to supper and to bed.’

In celebration of Pepys

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1671
Anthony Wood,
antiquary

‘At 7 in the morning the King’s crowne endeavoured to be taken away by (Thomas) Blood and his son and 3 others out of the Tower of London, but 3 of them were taken. The said Bloud and his son, who call themselves by the name of Hunt, were 2 of those 6 that set upon the duke of Ormond a little before last Xtmas, and they now confess that they had a designe to sell him to the Turks, because that by his meanes they had lost their estates in Ireland while he was Lord Deputy.’

A cold clownish woman

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1739
George Whitefield,
priest

‘Waited at Noon upon the honourable Trustees fro Georgia. They received me with the utmost civility, agreed to every Thing I asked, and gave me a Grant of Five hundred Acres of Land to me and Successors for ever, for the Use of the Orphan-house.’

Preaching with power

**************************************************************************************

 

1899
Miguel de Unamuno,
writer and philosopher

‘How is it suddenly, today, the 9th May, 1899, in the midst of my studies, I am overcome by a craving to pray? I have had to lay down my book and retire to my room to say a brief prayer and to read in the Imitation the prayer asking for light for the spirit.’

Go and wash and see

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1905
Thomas Cobden-Sanderson,
craftsman

‘I have just seen Swinburne pass through the [British] library into the Large Room preceded by a lady and Watts-Dunton. Swinburne had on a grey, large, soft felt hat. His head, too, seemed vast, his shoulders, on the other hand, seemed slight and very sloping, and his figure plump but small. He walked without moving his body, or arms, which were held down straight at his sides. So passed our greatest living poet. I rose from my seat to see him, and pondered upon the insignificance and significance of things. The library remained as undisturbed as the surface of a lake and its whole body of water by the entrance of an undistinguishable pebble.’

Innumerable ripples; countless diamonds

**************************************************************************************

1996
Alan Bennett,
playwright and actor

‘Vanity: my sixty-second birthday. Someone behind me in M&S says: ‘Are you all right, young man? I look round.’

A place for my asides

**************************************************************************************

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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.

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, 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.