Samuel Pepys was a brilliant man and writer.
He was born in London and attended Cambridge. After his studies he managed to get a successful political career using all the opportunities he could take during the new regime. But above all, his career was due to Sir Edward Montagues’ patronage.
In 1679 he was arrested because he was suspected of complicity in a Catholic conspiracy, and imprisoned in the tower of London.
When he was released, he lost his work and went to live outside London.
He’s known basically for his “diary”, written in a secret code of his own invention. He wrote it for nine years, but then he quitted because he was turning blind.
Samuel Pepys’s diary is very personal: its author used a secret code because he wanted to make sure none would ever read it after him. In it he speaks about people and himself. He’s always the leading character of every situation, as of course it is in every personal diary, and the center of every event.
Though very important events are told and described in the diary – like the plague and the great fire of London -, it’s written in a very natural way.
One of the most remarkable things you can notice by reading Samuel Pepys’s diary is that he used to celebrate every aspect of life: his work, his house, his wife – that he loved very much - or even a very nice woman he happened to flirt with.
John Evelyn was, like Pepys, another important diarist of the Stuarts Age.
They both wrote about important historical events of their period, and yet their diaries are very different.
Evelyn was the son of a country gentleman.
He studied at Oxford and spent a lot of time in the Continent.
When he came back to London he became a member of the Royal Society and tried to take pollution out of London.
He died in London when he was 85 years old.