Sunday 5 February 1664/65

(Lord’s day). Lay in bed most of the morning, then up and down to my chamber, among my new books, which is now a pleasant sight to me to see my whole study almost of one binding. So to dinner, and all the afternoon with W. Hewer at my office endorsing of papers there, my business having got before me much of late. In the evening comes to see me Mr. Sheply, lately come out of the country, who goes away again to-morrow, a good and a very kind man to me. There come also Mr. Andrews and Hill, and we sang very pleasantly; and so, they being gone, I and my wife to supper, and to prayers and bed.

9 Annotations

Australian Susan   Link to this

1st mention of Will Hewer for a while. Presumably because he's no longer part of the household.

Sam's shows his obsessive/compulsive leanings here - "a pleasant sight to me to see my whole study almost of one binding" Somehow don't think Elizabeth would have shared this satisfaction: "Look, look, Elizabeth! All the same, all neat, all new!" " Yeah. Right.Whatever". [Elizabeth possibly already planning new wardrobe for Easter and wondering when she starts asking for it - compare and contrast with book binding??]

"my business having got before me much of late. " This surprised me. It seems to me that Sam has been working long, hard hours recently and got very tired (thus the lie-in this morning). I suppose they are all extra busy because ofthe war preparations. ?

Carl in Boston   Link to this

Oooohhhhh, the books, the books, so beaaauuuutifulll. Yess, yesss, yesss. Obsessive? Nooooo, they're beautiful. Compulsive? Nevaaahhh. Who could think of leaving such things as beautifully bound books? This is not compulsion, it is beauty. A thing of beauty is a joy forever.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Peace, it's wonderful...And worth the extra wages.

***
"Ah, just look at them, ah, the smell of fresh leather, row on perfect..." Hmmn? I didn't realize I had so many... Pon my soul, those on the bottom don't... "'Raoul and the Despairing Maiden'..." Pulls another. "'Raoul, Pirate of the High Seas'?" "'Raoul, the Gallant Highwayman'?" "'Micrographia' (Well, ok)" "'Astronomy for the Lady'?" "'The Loves of Prince Rupert'?" "'How to Conceal Your Catholicism'?!!..."

"BESSSSS!!!"

Hmmn... "'The School of Girls', from the French...Whoa." Hmmn...Volume one.

(Sorry, couldn't resist including that one though a bit of a spoiler)

"Sir? Mrs. Pepys is out. Said she had more books to pick up from the binders. Said to tell you volume two is coming and you'd understand."

"Hmmn...Yes? Oh."

Well, wouldn't want to discourage her commendable interest in literature... Turns volume one sideways...Whoa.

"Yes. Well, let me know when volume two...er, Mrs. Pepys returns."

Nate   Link to this

"...new books, which is now a pleasant sight to me to see my whole study almost of one binding"

Sam likes books, he reads them, and I'll bet he is influenced by the libraries he has seen in the houses of the great and wealthy. He knows that this is the way it must be done to be done right. This might also be a way of advertising his position and status. For instance in the early 19th century in the US, I'm told, that some people put their only (nice) bed in the parlor with the other nice stuff so that it could be seen by visitors.

Michael Robinson   Link to this

" ... among my new books, which is now a pleasant sight to me to see my whole study almost of one binding."

Pepys acquisition of books, prints etc., as well as his microscopy, globes and scientific pursuits in general, are all a statement of his aspiration to a particular sort of gentility:

" ... the virtuoso is clearly a man of wealth and leisure: he is a gentleman, and we shall see that the movement was strongly class-conscious. But he is also a student. Whatever the subject, it is not a mere accomplishment, or an occasional recreation; it is a study to which he devotes much of his time, and in which he is, or pretends to be, something of an authority. And finally, his studies are never devoted to utilitarian ends, no more to political or professional success than to commercial gain. This is not to say that motives of practical utility never affected the studies of the virtuosi: one thinks of the greatest name in the movement, John Evelyn. But when they appear, they indicate either the necessary - or instinctive - rationale of “pure” learning in an age of utilitarian norms, or else the temporary abdication of the virtuoso’s genuine role. And this provides, I think, the first defining quality, for the attitude toward learning implied in all the quotations ... “I seldom bring any thing to use, ‘tis not my way, Knowledge is my ultimate end" "

Walter B. Houghton, Jr. 'The English Virtuoso in the Seventeenth Century' Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 3, #1., pp. 51-73, (Jan 1942)
http://www.compilerpress.atfreeweb.com/Anno%20H...

For a modern book length discussion:-
Marjorie Swann 'Curiosities and Text: The Culture of Learning in Early Modern England' Philadelphia: 2001.

Mary   Link to this

"lay in bed most of the morning..."

Sulking?

Paul Chapin   Link to this

"Pepys acquisition of books, prints etc., as well as his microscopy, globes and scientific pursuits in general, are all a statement of his aspiration to a particular sort of gentility"

That's probably true, but I've gotten the sense from the diary that this stuff isn't just for show, Sam is genuinely curious and genuinely enjoys reading his books and playing with his scientific toys.

Mary   Link to this

Exactly so, Paul.

Hence the citation describing those gentle folk, the Virtuosi.

Michael Robinson   Link to this

"Sam is genuinely curious and genuinely enjoys reading his books and playing with his scientific toys."

Yes Paul, of course, but there is also a great deal more going on both in SP and in the culture of the day. I have attempted, inadequately, through a few quotes strung together below to convey the part of Houghton's essay directly relevant; really the whole should be read. [Coincidence perhaps, but Houghton was at Harvard, and publishing this paper, when 'Structure of Scientific Revolutions' Kuhn was an undergraduate]:-

"Special forms of learning, hardly obtainable without wealth and leisure, take on the urgency of class distinction in an age notorious for intruding upstarts and ambitious merchants; so that knowledge of painting, blazon of arms, coins and statues become the marks of a gentleman:

The first use then hereof (I mean your learning,) as an Antidote against the Common plague of our times, let it confirme and perswade you, that as your understanding is by it ennobled with the richest dowry in the world, so hereby learne to know your owne worth and value. 31

The snob-appeal which helped to create the movement was still present at the Restoration, when Obadiah Walker thought that a gentleman’s time was best employed on “ingenious Studies” like antiquity, natural history, astronomy, “such as poorer Persons are not able to support.” 32

Another factor, and by no means the least, was the disease of the age. Whoever he is, says Burton, who is carried away with melancholy, and “for want of employment knows not how to spend his time” (the two are connected, and the second, as we noticed, was often the case of the Stuart gentleman, by choice or necessity), “… I can prescribe him no better remedy than this of study, to compose himself to the learning of some art or science.” This remedy was not original with Burton. Timothy Bright, for example, had recommended studies “of a milder and softer kinde,” though without mention of particular subjects. 34 What Burton did here, as so often through his book, was to adapt theory to contemporary life, by applying the studies long familiar to the Italian, and just then being discovered by the English, virtuosi, to the cure of melancholy." ...

.... "As Evelyn pointed out to Maddox, a gentleman might “sweetly pass his time” in furnishing “the desiderants of philosophy.” 62 It is thus only a step from Evelyn’s own enthusiasm in the 1640’s for mechanical inventions and Italian cabinets of natural rarities, to his friendship in the 50’s with Baconians like Wilkins and Boyle, on to his active support, a decade later, of a Royal Society dedicated to collecting “faithful records of all the Works of Nature, or Art.” 63 And what is true of Evelyn is true in general of the virtuosi, for we know that by 1667 natural philosophy had “begun to keep the best Company, and refine its Fashion and Appearance, and to become the Employment of the Rich, and the Great, instead of being [as it still largely was in Bacon’s time] the Subject of their Scorn.”

To promote this expansion of interest, Sprat wrote a special section of his History of the Royal Society to show why natural philosophy was a “proper Study for the Gentlemen of our Nation.” 65 Now that men of the lower ranks fill our army and navy, gentlemen are at liberty, he says, “to enlighten and adorn” their country with the studies of peace, and since, for the most part, they live on country estates, 'the Leisure which their Retirements afford them, is so great, that either they must spend their Thoughts about such Attempts, or in more chargeable and less innocent Divertisernents.” As for the choice of studies, academic learning, valuable enough for professions, is not useful for gentlemen, and too difficult to give pleasure.

"Their Minds should be charm’d by the allurements of sweeter and more plausible Studies; and for this purpose Experiments are the fittest: Their Objects they may feel and behold,… their Method is intelligible, and equal to their Capacities." ...

... "Evelyn’s diary is actually the record of a sentimental journey a hundred years before Sterne.

In the fields of science, the same general reaction was produced, of course, by the same kind of stimulus, natural and artificial rarities, only here, as in the case of antiquities, with a further and special form of delight. In the study of the earth, “consider,” says Peacham, “the wonder of wonders, how the Ocean so farre distant, holdeth motion with the Moone.” Read of “what strange Earthquakes, removing of whole Townes, Hilles, &c. have beene upon the face of the Earth.” Is geometry no more than a dull study required for building and engines of war? By no means. It is an “admirable Art, that… dares contend even with natures selfe, in infusing life as it were, into the senceless bodies of wood, stone, or mettall: witnesse the wooden dove of Archytas,” the wooden eagle and iron fly of Regiomontanus. Or think of the “delight and admiration” of seeing at Mechlin “a Cherry stone cut in the forme of a basket, wherein were fifteene paire of Dice distinct.” And so, he concludes, “see the effects of this divine knowledge, able to worke wonders beyond all beleefe.”

The same passion for the marvelous, whether strange phenomena of nature or ingenious inventions of man, is everywhere present in Evelyn. The superb cabinet of Signor Rugini abounded, above all, “in things petrified, walnuts, eggs in which the yolk rattled, a pear, a piece of beef with the bones in it, a whole hedgehog… divers pieces of amber, wherein were several insects, in particular one cut like a heart that contained in it a salamander without the least defect.” 77 Almost as fascinating were actual monstrosities - pearls and stones of unnatural size, “a cock with four legs,” “a hen which had two large spurs growing out of her sides.” 78 And complementing such miracles of nature were the artificial miracles of man, the surprising inventions like hydraulic organs, singing birds moving and chirping by the force of water, or “a conceited chair to sleep in with the legs stretched out, with hooks, and pieces of wood to draw out longer or shorter.” 79 Nowhere, I think, does he show the slightest concern with what to Bacon was the main raison d’être of the study of nature or mechanical art - the discovery of law; which is hardly surprising, since a rarity explained is no longer a rarity:

What pleased me most was a large pendant candlestick, branching into several sockets, furnished all with ordinary candles to appearance, out of the wicks spouting out streams of water, instead of flames. This seemed then and was a rarity, before the philosophy of compressed air made it intelligible. 80

One is reminded of the lingering regret with which Browne explodes some of the fabulous rarities of natural history. Sprat might deny that the new philosophy “makes our Minds too Lofty and Romantic;” he might protest that the Royal Society “endeavours rather to know, than to admire; and looks upon Admiration, not as the End, but the Imperfection of our Knowledge.” 81 These were fine Baconian sentiments, but the virtuoso members were, in fact, anti-Baconians, reluctant to serve the cause of science at the expense of romantic wonder. And Sprat recognized as much when he wrote:

In every one of these Transplantations [of vegetables and living creatures], the chief Progress that has hitherto been made, has been rather for the Collection of Curiosities to adorn Cabinets and Gardens, than for the Solidity of Philosophical Discoveries .82

In a word, the virtuoso stops at the very point where the genuine scientist really begins, which is the distinction we started with, and have now explored until we have caught the quality of delight and the special kind of curiosity on which it thrives, namely, wonder and admiration for the rare, the strange, and the incredible."

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