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Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self

por Claire Tomalin

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1,528298,620 (4.15)68
Samuel Pepys achieved fame as a naval administrator, a friend and colleague of the powerful and learned, a figure of substance. But for nearly ten years he kept a private diary in which he recorded, with unparalleled openness and sensitivity to the turbulent world around him, exactly what it was like to be a young man in Restoration London. This diary lies at the heart of Claire Tomalin's biography. Yet the use she makes of it - and of other hitherto unexamined material - is startlingly fresh and original. Within and beyond the narrative of Pepys's extraordinary career, she explores his inner life - his relations with women, his fears and ambitions, his political shifts, his agonies and his delights.… (mais)
Adicionado recentemente porjwhyte, KatriLeikola, biblioteca privada, CalAnderson, dmhauser, jjohnston256, CarlyPalmer, GeigerLibrary, palindrome80
Bibliotecas LegadasLeslie Scalapino
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Detallada biografía del famoso escritor inglés y miembro del parlamento del siglo XVII, Samuel Pepys. Contiene un buen número de fotografías mostrando sitios, retratos de allegados o documentos relacionados con el personaje, además de grabados y dibujos de época. ( )
  Eucalafio | Nov 13, 2020 |
I've read enough fiction and nonfiction about Restoration England to know who Samuel Pepys was, but this biography provided a fuller account of his life and his famous diary than the glimpses I'd had previously. Analysis and overviews of the diary Pepys kept from 1660 to 1669 account for nearly a third of this book, dividing his life into periods before, during, and after he kept the diary so well known today. I found the later period of Pepys' life fascinating, as I hadn't known he was a loyal Jacobite and largely sacrificed his career due to his personal loyalty to James II, and, of course, the story of how the famous diary came to be discovered, transcribed, and published is a tale all its own. This is an excellent read for those interested in the Restoration period and is a highly valuable biography for fleshing out the entirety of Samuel Pepys' life. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Oct 17, 2020 |
Samuel Pepys is one of history’s most colourful characters, so I expected this biography to reflect that, but I only enjoyed the book in parts. I admit to skipping over certain dry or off-topic subjects that didn’t hold my attention.

By “off-topic”, I mean when the author includes too much detail about someone or some event related to Pepys, but not directly involving him. If this sort of thing had been cut, the bio would’ve been a much more entertaining read.

The political side of things didn’t interest me, except for Pepys’s direct interaction with Charles II and James II. Pepys’s personal life appealed to me most. His relationship with his wife and his adulterous affairs made for the most engaging reading. ( )
  PhilSyphe | Jun 26, 2020 |
Samuel Pepys presents a double-edged sword to his biographers: a wonderful, personal source document to work from that provides a treasure of insights not just into his daily activities but also into his uncensored personal life, at the same time as it leaves little from those years to explore. What can a biographer do but to summarize those key nine years of his life, like a condensed abridged version of what would be better read in full?

Claire Tomalin overcame this obstacle with aplomb. She draws out the diary's themes and expands them into full chapters that move forwards and backwards in time. She adds colour and context from other source material to provide the background to events and people that Samuel knew so well he took no time to explain. In this we have the evidence that Samuel did not write for readers beyond himself, and this is the gap that his biographer so ably fills. This biography proved an excellent aid to interpreting the much-abridged version of the diary I chose to read, which I would have found underwhelming otherwise.

A full biography also requires exploring the before-and-after. Here we have a good picture of Pepys' birth, upbringing, education and political leanings prior to the diary. The diary's first entry in 1660 plunges us into the Interregnum's final thrashings at a most uncertain moment, when no one knew what form of government was going to take shape prior to General Monck's march on London. Tomalin explores why this was the diary's starting point, why a diary at all, and what Samuel might have been aiming to accomplish with it. On the other side, nine years later, she explores why it was discontinued and then describes Pepys' life afterwards, which did not lack for additional significant events.

Tomalin maintains objectivity throughout even when Sam doesn't deserve it, particularly when he is philandering with the unwilling and the very young (i.e. sexual abuse, cut and dried). She is not necessarily a proponent of the man, but she is certainly one for the diary: for the multi-faceted insight it provides into the merging between the public face that Pepys presents in all official records and who he was behind closed doors. The diary sees no line between the two, transitioning back and forth at will. Tomalin's thesis is that the result is a unique and significant record, not merely for its period but possibly for all time, and Pepys' greatest legacy, even above the good he did for the British Royal Navy. A biography fantastically well-written, researched and delivered. ( )
  Cecrow | Apr 23, 2019 |
I read the diary recently and was left wondering what happened to everybody, and how Pepys felt when his wife died, when he was sacked, when he was imprisoned. This book gives you the information you need to imagine those things. I'm deeply impressed by the depth of Tomalin's knowledge. It's also exceptionally well written on a word by word basis, but also in it's structure, with the expository background history deployed at those points where we don't know the day to day doings of Pepys. I could actually have done with more information on the Popish Plot, but I suppose it would be outside the scope of a biography. I had trouble keeping track of everyone in the diary, and working out exactly what it was that Pepys did professionally and this book helped clarify it. Tomalin also has a dry sense of humour and an eye for an amusing detail. ( )
2 vote Lukerik | Sep 5, 2015 |
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Thouvenot, FrançoisTraducteurautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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The whole book, if you will but look at it in that way, is seen to be a work of art to Pepys's own address. Here, then, we have the key to that remarkable attitude preserved by him throughout his diary, to that unflinching - I had almost said that unintelligent - sincerity which makes it a miracle among human books...Whether he did ill or well, he was still his own unequalled self; still that entrancing ego of whom alone he cared to write. - Robert Louis Stevenson, 'Samuel Pepys'.
Un livre est le produit d'un autre moi que celui que nous manifestons dans nos habitudes, dans la société, dans nos vices. - Marcel Proust, Contre Sainte-Beuve.
[There is] in every one, two men, the wise and the foolish, and... each of them must be allowed his turn. If you would have the wise, the grave, the serious, always to rule and have sway, the fool would grow so peevish and troublesome, that he would put the wise man out of order, and make him fit for nothing: he must have his times of being let loose to follow his fancies, and play his gambols, if you would have your business go on smoothly. - Anthony Ashley Cooper, Lord Shaftesbury, to John Locke.
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At seven o'clock on a January morning, as the sky over London was growing light, a row broke out in a bedroom between a husband and wife.
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Samuel Pepys achieved fame as a naval administrator, a friend and colleague of the powerful and learned, a figure of substance. But for nearly ten years he kept a private diary in which he recorded, with unparalleled openness and sensitivity to the turbulent world around him, exactly what it was like to be a young man in Restoration London. This diary lies at the heart of Claire Tomalin's biography. Yet the use she makes of it - and of other hitherto unexamined material - is startlingly fresh and original. Within and beyond the narrative of Pepys's extraordinary career, she explores his inner life - his relations with women, his fears and ambitions, his political shifts, his agonies and his delights.

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