Definition

Pepys' weblog

The famous diary that Samuel Pepys (pronounced PEEPS), once the head of England's Navy, kept during the years 1660-1669 is being made available online in the form of a weblog. Phil Gyford, who conceived the idea, is converting the diary, which was already in electronic form as part of Project Gutenberg, into weblog format using software called Movable Type. He added Pepys' entry for January 1, 1660 on January 1, 2003, and, since then, has continued to add a new entry each day. In its current form, Pepys' weblog allows a reader to create a public annotation, asking or answering a question or perhaps explaining some now obscure 17th century term that Pepys uses. The weblog site includes an overview and other historical background. Hypertext links are provided where Pepys mentions historical events and specific people.

Pepys' diary has long been a primary source for understanding daily life and events in the 1660-1669 period, which includes the The Great Fire of London and the Plague. It is also very readable and in many places revealing of Pepys' character and his most private thoughts. Because Pepys wrote his diary in a form of coded shorthand, some believe it was never intended for public view. However, he willed his diary as part of his library to Magdalene College, probably knowing that it would become accessible in future years. Historians (and many readers) have been grateful ever since.

Gyford says he is committed to creating a new diary entry each day for the next nine or more years. With the Web site now complete, however, he believes the work will take him only an evening or two each month.

This was last updated in June 2007
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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