Last year saw the publication of a new abridged edition of the diary, which (we mentioned here) and a couple of years ago we had a review of the fascinating book Samuel Pepys and His Books. Both are by Dr Kate Loveman who has kindly agreed to answer any questions you might have for her.

We’ve all spent a lot of time reading and discussing Pepys and his diary over the years, but Dr Loveman, associate professor of English Literature at the University of Leicester, probably has a wider and deeper knowledge of the period than most (or any!) of us.

Her research “focuses on reading habits, collecting and sociability” and, in addition to the two books mentioned above, she has published many articles and book chapters relating to Pepys. Some of the titles include:

  • ‘Entertainments in Samuel Pepys’s Diary: Verses from John Evelyn and a Song to Mock Sir William Penn’

  • ‘Samuel Pepys’s First Portrait Painter: Daniel Savile and Portraiture for the Middling Sort in Restoration London’

  • ‘Pepys’s “Retirement”’, in Samuel Pepys: Plague, Fire, Revolution

  • ‘Samuel Pepys and “Discourses touching Religion”’

  • ‘Further Information on Deb Willet before and after Samuel Pepys’s Diary’

  • ‘Books and Sociability: The Case of Samuel Pepys’s Library’

  • ‘Samuel Pepys and Deb Willet: After the Diary’

  • ‘Pepys’s Jests’

So, is there anything about Pepys or the period you’d like to know that Dr Loveman might be able to answer? Anything about Pepys’s books, or Deb Willet, or life after the diary, or maybe early chocolate…?

Either write your questions in a comment below, or email them to me directly. In a week or so I’ll collate them together and send them on. I’ll assume you want your names included in the final article unless you mention otherwise.


Second Reading

RSGII  •  Link

As I understand from Pepys Navy, the Navy was by far the largest economic unit/actor in Great Britain of the time, having a major impact on trade, employment, suppliers etc. Hence Pepys importance in managing the behind the scenes day to day working of the enterprise, while leaving strategy or fighting to the naval officers and aristocrats.
What I am less clear is how it was financed, something Pepys and his professional colleagues spent a lot of time worrying over.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I'm curious about your understanding of Pepys' relationship to religion during the Diary years. There's a period when he almost seems to be going "church shopping" ... his scare that Elizabeth will become Roman Catholic ... his "vowes" which seem to be more about positioning himself to make money than to be an upstanding member of the community. Church attendance seems to be more politically-motivated than spiritually uplifting. The revelation that James didn't care if his clerk was a Quaker must have been an eye-opener. I've read that the courtiers bad behavior was as much political protest as anything (my opinion is that the older ones had PTSD and were self-medicating). Are these impressions on the right lines, or was he an athiest hiding-in-plain-sight?

Christopher David Robin Williams  •  Link

This question regarding "my valentine" as Sam wrote is a curiosity for me. I can't imagine a woman/spouse in today's world accepting another female as her partner's valentine. Why not Elizabeth?

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