The Soul of Samuel Pepys

The Soul of Samuel Pepys

The Soul of Samuel Pepys

The Soul of Samuel Pepys

Excerpt

Some apology may seem to be required for an attempt to portray the soul of one who has painted his own portrait with such ample and intimate fidelity. That portrait has been studied with delight by generations of readers and has won the enthusiastic praise of critics so varied as Scott and Thackeray and Lowell and Stevenson, to name no others. Nevertheless, the very amplitude of the great Diary makes it difficult for the hurried reader to approach. It has the abundance, the crowded, formless richness, the embarrassing complication of an actual lived life. And it seemed as if it might be possible to introduce a certain amount of order and clarity into the shapeless mass, so as to make it more available for those who have not the patience to deal with it in its tangled entirety. As with all my portraits, I have endeavoured to let the subject speak for himself, simply adding such comment of my own or of others as may make the utterance more effective. But never before have I had material so splendid or so inexhaustible. I have lived with the Diary intimately for thirty years; but only when I came to work on it for psychographic purposes . . .

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