A couple of months ago Everyman’s Library published a new abridged edition of The Diary of Samuel Pepys. It was compiled by Kate Loveman, who wrote Samuel Pepys and His Books, which Sue Nicholson reviewed for us in 2016.

'Book cover

It’s hard to tell from descriptions of the book online what is different about this edition compared to all previous abridged versions of the diary. So I got in touch with the publisher who sent me some more information. Here’s the full list of “Sales Points”:

  • Most reliable text — Selected from Latham and Matthew’s edition of the diary (1970–83), the only reliable and uncensored transcription of Pepys’s shorthand.

  • Best one-volume edition — The Latham and Matthew edition runs to 11 volumes and this new 700pp edition fills a gap in the market for a manageable and affordable single-volume selection.

  • Full entries — Unlike other selections, this one is composed almost completely of full entries rather than excerpts.

  • Annotations — Includes new and revised notes aimed at students, scholars, and general readers, drawing on recent scholarship (and containing new identifications and discoveries made for this edition).

  • Pepys’s private language translated — The polyglot that Pepys used to record his sexual experiences and affairs is translated in the notes, something not to be found in any other edition.

  • New introduction — Describes Pepys’s life and historical context, outlines his writing methods, and considers his motivations for diary keeping.

  • Index, select list of persons, bibliography and chronology are all provided.

  • Package — Everyman’s Library pursues the highest production standards, printing on acid-free, cream-wove paper, with full-cloth cases, gold foil stamping, decorative endpapers, silk ribbon markers, half-round spines and a five-colour illustrated jacket.

For anyone who can’t face reading the diary in its entirety (which is understandable) this sounds like the perfect edition. Why the above information isn’t readily available anywhere online is something that shall have to remain a mystery!

Thanks to Sue Nicholson for bringing this edition to my attention.

You can buy the book on Amazon, but I’d avoid anything but the hardback versions listed; the Everyman edition is only available in hardback. Some of the links below will generate a bit of income for me, but if you have a nice independent bookshop near you, or who will ship to you, buying it from them would be even better!

Updated: Corrected the Amazon UK link to point to the correct, cheaper and not-imported version. 16 Dec 2018.


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