Samuel Pepys -- 01/23/03

Back around the beginning of the month (toward the bottom of my Jan 3rd entry) I somewhat tongue-in-cheek mentioned a new online journaler -- Samuel Pepys -- I described him as posting his entires in blog style (newest posting comes on top) providing a daily commentary his life and his times, including politics, government scandals, drinking and eating (and other pleasures). Yes, of course, I mean that Samuel Pepys, giving us all the latest gossip and news as post-Cromwell England stumbles towards a return to monarchy. Think of it as being in some Central American banana republic or (perhaps even closer) as being in an Eastern European country, perhaps one of the Balkan state, filled with both political and religious tensions, where politics and religion are intertwined, where religious fanatics have been known to take up arms, where being accused of following the wrong religion can cause you to end up in jail (or worse), where the great general, the Lord Protector, the military dictator has died and his heir did not have the strength to hold the reins of power... these are troubled times... will there be a return to monarchy? Will there be a military coup? Will there be renewed civil war? (And, on more domestic notes, will our journaler lose his job? Or get a promotion? Or be sucked into the political morass? And what about his somewhat stormy marriage? His relationship with his teenaged bride? His enjoyment of pleasure?)

I know how a lot of this comes out -- I don't just mean that I do have some familiarity with English history, I mean I have read a number of sections of Pepys' diary years ago and still recall the major outlines of his life -- but revealed day-by-day like this, it is as if I am following along in real time, as each day's entry is added, one day at a time. As of today, entries are up for January of 1659/1660, up through January 23rd, the next entry will be for January 24, 1659/1660. If that looks not quite right it's because our modern concept is that the year begins January 1st, but Pepys would have considered it to still be 1659 until March and then it would become 1660. Also, since England had not yet switched to the Gregorian calendar (that change is still decades in the future), dates on the Julian calendar in England do not match up with the calendar used in most European Catholic nations, but lets try not to get involved in that mess.

Just as many bloggers provide for readers to post comments and reactions to an entry, each entry in pepysdiary.com is followed by an annotation link where readers can post questions and comments and carry on a discussion. Given the centuries that separate our time from his (and perhaps especially our version of English from his), annotations are needed. It is all very lively and literate and fascinating -- and no flame wars. I'm afraid I've become quite addicted. The only problem is that Sam doesn't have a notify list, so you'll have to bookmark it and check daily; however, he does tend to post every day.

In addition to that, you can hop over to The Pepys Project to find links to online journals and blogs from all around the world (there's even one in Antarctica -- if you try to check out the Antarctic one, you may find yourself at a not-found page, but that non-found page is in Anarctica, just click around on that page and you'll find accounts of daily life down there) and if you happen to have a blog or online journal of your own, you can apply to register your site to be listed. (I just had mine added -- which had the effect of doubling the number of journals they had listed for Rhode Island.)

And so to bed.

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