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Publisher's Summary

The Diary of Samuel Pepys is one of the most entertaining documents in English history. Written between 1660 and 1669, as Pepys was establishing himself as a key administrator in the naval office, it is an intimate portrait of life in 17th-century England covering his professional and personal activities, including, famously, his love of music, theatre, food, wine and his peccadilloes. This Naxos AudioBooks production is the world premiere recording of the diary in its entirety; the result of many years of scholarship by Robert Latham (Magdalene College, Cambridge) and William Matthews (University of California). It has been divided into three volumes. Volume I covers the opening years of the Restoration and introduces us to many of the key characters - family, government and royalty. Pepys was there when Charles II returned to England, and he lived through those opening years of the Stuart monarchy, with its revenge on the regicides. He also recorded the reopening of theaters, and how he relaxed from the Puritan way of life.
©1983 Robert Latham (Magdalene College, Cambridge) and William Matthews (University of California) (P)2014 Naxos AudioBooks
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Barbara on 09-18-15

Life in a Perilous Time

I truly did not expect to enjoy this as much as I did. I bought it because it is something I've heard about since school and expected it to be very dry. Anything but.

It is one thing to read history and know that during the late 1600s that people had to deal with things like small pox, minor infections which could result in death and just saying the wrong word could result in jail, or execution. And the wrong word especially in Pepys time and place changed from month to month. He lived and worked while Cromwell's puritan regime folded with his death, and was literally an eye witness to Charles II coming to England.

But oddly it is the everyday things that are so interesting. Of course he records things from his own personal view. We hear about his wife burning her hand, "the girl" refusing to kill birds for dinner. She just will not kill anything, his wife had to do it. Wow, I thought in the time before refrigeration that people did what they had to do. I couldn't kill anything either, so it is amazing to look back across the centuries and see a kindred spirit, however small and unnamed the spirit is.

The narrators are clear, pleasant, and cheerful. It is easy to feel that Samuel himself is just chatting aloud. I am glad to get a small "peep" into such a distant world.

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13 of 15 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By David C. on 03-26-15


Excellently performed by Leighton Pugh. Incredibly interesting to step into 1660s England. It's amazing how much has stayed the same.

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11 of 13 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Alison on 09-16-15

I am treating this like marathon training.

I love diaries, and this is perhaps the master-diary. I also like long and easy-going reads. This is ticking all the boxes. That said, it is just so very long, even for me, I am, after listening to the first 2 volumes back-to-back, listening to one at a time and then listening to another, entirely different sort of book before going on to the next volume of Pepys.

As there is really no plot whatsoever, this does not leave you wondering 'what next?' because you know that next, Samuel will eat another venison pasty, go about his work and his house renovation, meddle with the affairs of his family, have talk with his wife, write his journal and so to bed. If I tried to listen to it all in one lump - which would take weeks - I think even I, with high thresholds of tolerance when it comes to lengthy books, would give up.

It is well read. Not over-acted, with just the right hints of peeve or greed and lust, but mainly just conversational. Accents are not needed which is a relief.

I may be imagining a very inaccurate vision of his London, but as we go about his day-to-day rounds together, I think I can see the London of his day, in my mind's eye. The effect of 'living' with him and his family etc over a long period is that of layering up his contacts, friends and colleagues so it becomes a mini-soap! I also love the daily food references and very much want to try capons, venison pie and plum porridge. Not so much the tripe.

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15 of 15 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Sharon Evans on 03-01-15


Truly amazing! Still Holds true for life today. Can listen to this time after time. Huge laughs throughout. What a man.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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