Half a year in… it seems like the diary’s been going a long time, but we’ve only just begun! Thanks to everyone who’s contributed annotations to the site — I’m sure I speak for many people when I say the diary has come alive thanks to the information and discussion posted over the past few months. Here are some statistics for you about the diary so far…
Tina emailed me to point out that Claire Tomalin’s recent biography of Pepys is available at Amazon UK as part of their “3 paperbacks for £12” promotion (plus postage and packing). The small print reveals that you don’t have to buy three books — you can just buy one for £3.99 (plus p+p). Crafty!
Keith kindly pointed out an article in the Times Literary Supplement by Ferdinand Mount, author of Jem (and Sam) (Amazon US, UK). It is mainly a review of London’s National Portrait GalleryPepys exhibition but also has interesting things to say about Pepys and some of his associates. I fear the link may only work until Thursday though, so be quick…
Yesterday I altered the way the fonts on the site are defined, and wondered if anyone would notice. Todd did, so I thought I’d mention it here in case anyone else wonders why something’s different. Most people shouldn’t notice much difference, a few should notice some improvement, especially on small text and with browsers set to display text smaller than usual. I’ve tested it on most browsers on Windows and Mac OS X, but let me know if you have any problems.
Unfortunately, some people don’t know when to shut up. I’ve decided to ban “Hhomeboy” from posting on this site. I’m reluctant to do so, especially as he obviously has a great deal of knowledge to contribute. He has refused to restrict his relentless pomposity and snarkiness masquerading as advice. I’ve lost count of the number of people who’ve asked me to ban him before now and so I hope this doesn’t seem overly vindictive or authoritarian. He’ll no doubt take this as more “evidence” of my inability to take criticism, something that I hope will be news to all those whose welcome comments have benefited the site.
I’d just like to remind people to be careful with their annotations. Recently there have been more errors appearing, more lengthy posts, and more annotations that should be in the Background Info section.
Michael Filiksy let me know about a show that might be of interest. He says:
“This week the BBC Radio 3 show “Music Restored” presented a celebration of Pepys’ 300th death anniversary. The program(me) includes music of Pepys’ London (Purcell, Locke, Playford, etc.) interspersed with the diarist’s words read by an actor. There seems to be a gap of a minute or so at about 3 minutes, but stay with it and be rewarded. The commentary is by Lucie Skeaping, the host. BBC seems to archive these programs for one week only, so tune in before Thursday 1 May.”
You may have noticed a couple of small changes. First, any footnotes from the 1893 edition of the diary have moved from the right-hand column to below the relevant diary entry. Since adding the Background Info links to the right column the footnotes have been a little obscured and several people have missed them when they appear. The new position keeps the reading of each diary entry in a straight vertical line down to the reader annotations.
A thought occurred to me recently… I was wondering if anyone was itching to write more about aspects of Pepys or the time he lived in. If so, maybe it would be worth creating a new section of the site for such articles. Every so often a new essay/article could be posted up and readers could, as ever, post comments. Any topic related to the diary or the times would be welcome (individual people, politics, language, fashion, etc.) and they could of course be rather longer than diary annotations. It might be a daft idea, or there might not be enough people interested in writing things — let me know what you think.
You may have noticed the annotation format has changed, with the person’s name and the time now at the top. I hope this makes things easier for you.
Also, I’ve written something that marks which annotations are new since your last visit. It’s not foolproof, and because it relies on cookies(?) it’ll get confused if you use more than one computer or web browser to view the site. But I hope it’ll help make clear what you’ve yet to read. The Recent Annotations page is marked similarly.
So it seems some people don’t want a discussion forum at all, and some think it might be a good idea. Given there appears to be little immediate demand, it seems a good idea to take a step back and look at what annotations should be. Having done that we can decide if our guidelines leave out other kinds of commentary that deserve an alternate home.
As previously mentioned, I’m currently looking at adding some kind of discussion forum. This would mean we can restrict diary entry annotations to more specific information, references and explanation, and move longer discussions elsewhere. This way those who are only interested in reading the diary and having obscure words and themes explained don’t have to wade through long conversations, and those who wish to discuss further can do so.
She says she’s tried to use this site in the past but has been “frustrated by the site crashing.” I’d love to know what browser and operating system she’s using, and what exactly happens, as I thought I’d squashed all such bugs weeks ago. If anyone knows how to get in touch with her…
Altered the template used for the search results slightly so more results will fit on a screen.
Added a list of the recently commented-upon entries in this Recent News weblog to the Recent Annotations page. Can regular readers think of anything else (annotation-oriented or otherwise) that would be useful on this page, as a one-stop-shop for viewing what’s happened recently?
Added a list of the most recently added background items to the front page of the Background Info page.
Changed the layout of the annotation forms slightly, to go along with recent improvements to the default Movable Type templates.
Added an FAQ in an attempt to answer some of the questions I get asked most frequently about the site in general.
Belatedly added background pages for William Prynne/Prin and Ralph and Sir Thomas Widdrington. (I won’t always mention when I add background items here, hence the new list mentioned above, but these characters have been the subject of recent discussion.)