And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

11 September

Christopher Marshall,

‘News was that the enemy advanced towards the Concord road to Philadelphia; that part of our army was gone to Chad’s Ford; that several deserters were gone for Philadelphia; some, very few, come here; that some of the Virginia forces coming to our assistance had crossed [the] Susquehannah to the amount of one thousand; others on the road. From Fort Pitt that one or two persons were apprehended, coming there from Detroit, on one of them were found some papers, particularly one with the list of names of those in the fort and in the neighbourhood, who had declared their allegiance to George the Third. One of the persons, by name Wm. Gallaher, formerly a pedler, had made his escape, for whom a reward of six hundred dollars is offered.’

Hogsheads and puncheons


John Marrett,

‘Preach’d A.M. - dismissed the People P.M. 1/4 past 4 o’clock my wife died.’

Ye largest Funeral


Søren Kierkegaard,

‘The reason I cannot really say that I positively enjoy nature is that I do not quite realize what it is that I enjoy. A work of art, on the other hand, I can grasp. I can - if I may put it this way - find that Archimedian point, and as soon as I have found it, everything is readily clear for me. Then I am able to pursue this one main idea and see how all the details serve to illuminate it. I see the author’s whole individuality as if it were the sea, in which every single detail is reflected. The author’s spirit is kindred to me; he is very probably far superior to me, I am sure, but yet he is limited as I am. The works of the deity are too great for me; I always get lost in the details. This is the reason, too, why people’s exclamations on observing nature: It’s lovely, tremendous, etc. - are so frivolous. They are all too anthropomorphic; they come to a stop with the external; they are unable to express inwardness, depth. In this connection, also, it seems most remarkable to me that the great geniuses among the poets (such as Ossian and Homer) are represented as blind. Of course, it makes no difference to me whether they actually were blind or not. I only make a point of the fact that people have imagined them to be blind, for this would seem to indicate that what they saw when they sang the beauty of nature was not seen with the external eye but was revealed to their inward intuition. How remarkable that one of the best, yes, the very best writer about bees was blind from early youth. It seems to indicate that however much one believes in the importance of the observation of externals, he had found that [Archimedian] point and now by a purely spiritual activity had deduced from this all the details and had reconstructed them analogously to nature.’

Mock and real turtles


John Henry Newman,

‘Aubrey de Vere came’

The pithy diary of a saint


Rainer Maria Rilke,

‘A fine evening at the Overbecks’. The blond painter was with me for the length of the twilight; I showed her some Russian books, the pictures of Nadson and Garshin, Droshin’s portraits, and other mementos. In the evening she sat next to me, and there was much conversation between us. The table was nicely set; small chamomiles slanted to one side framed the simple white runner, which was accented by blue-and-red-embroidered signatures of guests who had preceded us. Dr. Hauptmann and I added our names to this roll. Hauptmann was in rare form, made many cutting remarks regarding the temper of our time, always in the most charmingly ingenuous way. [. . .]

Clara Westhoff had come on her bicycle, But she walked almost the whole way back to Westerwede, since while we were talking I had passed by my gate and continued on at her side. It was about two hours past midnight. The skies were gray, quiet, and the landscape could be seen, completely without color, stretching far in the distance . . . The birch trees stood like candles beside long trails. The only thing white was a white cat, which would appear from behind the bushes in silent leaps, then vanish in the mistless meadows. It was a melancholy cat that staged a solitary dance. In the garden everything green was a shade darker. Almost black, the full bushes leaned against the white railing of the forecourt. Around the urns there was depth and air.’

Art but no artists


Reginald Marsh,

‘Saw our new house building which we are going to move in soon. I went to the N.R.H.S. for the first day this morning. It is a fine big school and I took French I, Latin II (Caesar), plane geometry and English II. Thunder storm in afternoon.’

Pictures and vaudeville


Michael Macdonagh,

‘The lights of London were lowered last night for the first time. [. . .] Only a few of the street lamps were alight, and these had shades. Lights in shop windows were reduced. Blinds must be drawn before lights are lit in upper windows of all houses.

As I was going home from the Houses of Parliament last night I could not read my evening paper, so dim was the lighting of the Clapham train. The car was also specially fitted with blinds, and before we crossed Westminster Bridge these were drawn by the conductor for the purpose, he explained to us, of disguising the course of the river from hostile airmen, should they attempt a raid on London

Two workingmen in the car were very contemptuous of the Zeppelins. “They could never get here,” said one. “I hope they will come,” said the other. “We’ll stick pins in their bloody gas-bags.” ’

The drama of London in WWI


Charles de Foucauld,

‘Noon post to hand. Captain de Saint-Léger orders M. de La Roche to remain at Ahaggar with his whole force. I forward the order by express. Bad news; we are retreating all along the frontier, before superior forces. We cannot help Belgium. The Germans occupy Brussels.’

From playboy to ascetic


David Gascoyne,

‘Last Monday, recommenced work on ‘Son of the Evening’. [. . .] The other day, conceived the plan of a new novel: ‘The Anointed’, but I suppose I shall have to try to finish the other one first. ‘On n’ecrit pas les livres qu’on veut’, as one of the Goncourt remarked. One needs tremendous determination to do creative work of any sort in a world so disordered and uncertain as the world today. Crise de la politique, crise de l’homme, crise de l’esprit ...’

The poet’s destiny


Nella Last,

‘The announcement in the paper, following one on the wireless, that the Government were preparing for a three-year war seems to have been a shock to a lot of people. One woman I know - a big-made woman of about fifty-six who took on an air-raid warden job - has had a nervous breakdown. Her niece said she had always had a fear of the dark and, now she knew she would have to take her turn in the dark all winter, she has cracked up. Other friends look aged, and I have a cold feeling down inside when I think of my Cliff off on Friday. I will dedicate every part of my time when I’m not looking after my husband to the W.V.S. I’ll work and beg things and keep cheerful - outwardly at least. Now when I plan and work harder, I find my brain sharper and I don’t forget things. I’m following my doctor’s advice and have not lost any more weight. I can sleep at least four hours a night and, although always tired, have not been so exhausted.

We saw a sign of the times tonight: I had some shopping to do and my husband ran me down in the car. We came back by a lane that has always been used by courting couples since I can remember. They were there in plenty - all carrying their gas masks!’

Carrying their gas masks


Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit,

‘Half an hour after lock up yesterday there was a tremendous knocking at the outer gate and the matron came in excitedly announcing “Mrs Indira is here.” A minute later Indu followed by five other women came in. The others are Ram Kali Devi, Mahadevi Chaube, Lakshmibai Bapat and two young girls: Vidyavati and Govindi Devi. It appears that the women intended to have a meeting but before it could commence the police arrived and made an attempt to arrest Indu and some others who were there. There was a scuffle between the crowd and police. Indu was pulled about and bruised and had her clothes torn. Finally they were brought here. Feroz has also been arrested. There was great excitement in our barrack. Indu was put in here and the others in the barrack opposite. They talked excitedly for a long time after we had composed ourselves. Indu has no news of Bhai which is very disturbing. Bapu’s news, the little she had, was also not good.

Ranjit has been very unwell and could not leave Bombay He plans to spend ten days in Khali before returning to Allahabad. I am terribly worried about Ranjit. He wants such careful looking after.’

Mrs Indira is here


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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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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.

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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, several times a week. Now over ten years old, The Diary Review is the secondary source for the extracts in this online anthology.