Annotations and comments

Cynara has posted five annotations/comments since 4 December 2023.

The most recent first…


Third Reading

About Friday 1 March 1660/61

Cynara  •  Link

My understanding is that “dinner” has usually meant the main, often hot, meal of the day. Farmers and the countrified ate it in the midday, to fuel hard work. Jane Austen, that country-dweller, dined at midday and ate a light supper in the evening.

In later centuries, the citified and elegant went out of their way to eat their main meal later in the day, the interval being supplied by lunch, tea, etc. to allow them to dine elegantly late.

About Wednesday 16 January 1660/61

Cynara  •  Link

Thank you to Michaela for her post of a couple years ago! I was wondering how much googling I was going to do to find that same info, which I remembered but could not attribute. :)

And others have pointed out that our smells (car exhaust, commercial cleansers, etc) might be equally appalling to them, not to mention our constant noise pollution.

About Friday 11 January 1660/61

Cynara  •  Link

I find some things about Pepys difficult to swallow - mostly things in the future, e.g. his behaviour with women, whose words we never hear.

I find him stingy with his wife, probably about averagely violent for the period, and not a paragon of virtue, generally. Yes, much of this is commonplace in his era, but I don’t think that means I’m required to love it. I’m not a professional historian here but a private reader, and I am allowed all my own judgements, reasonable and unreasonable!

For me, all this is balanced by the immediacy and the candidness of the diary. If I don’t love him, I respect him for being honest with himself in its pages, and I’m very grateful for the peek into his life. As a person with my own flaws, I own him as a cousin, if not a brother!

About Monday 3 December 1660

Cynara  •  Link

My memory of undergrad English tells me that there were two traditions of English drama at this point - an academic tradition, often written in Latin for performance in elite and educated circles and a popular English tradition (nourished by cycle drama and country performances of Robin Hood and acrobats and whatnot). Shakespeare belonged in the latter - entertainment for the masses, who could enjoy it without an Oxbridge degree. Of course, the elite enjoyed it too!