Samuel Pepys by Claire Tomalin
The Unequalled Self

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Synopsis

For a decade, beginning in 1660, an ambitious young London civil servant kept an astonishingly candid account of his life during one of the most defining periods in British history. In Samuel Pepys, Claire Tomalin offers us a fully realized and richly nuanced portrait of this man, whose inadvertent masterpiece would establish him as the greatest diarist in the English language.

Against the backdrop of plague, civil war, and regicide, with John Milton composing diplomatic correspondence for Oliver Cromwell, Christopher Wren drawing up plans to rebuild London, and Isaac Newton advancing the empirical study of the world around us, Tomalin weaves a breathtaking account of a figure who has passed on to us much of what we know about seventeenth-century London. We witness Pepys’s early life and education, see him advising King Charles II before running to watch the great fire consume London, learn about the great events of the day as well as the most intimate personal details that Pepys encrypted in the Diary, follow him through his later years as a powerful naval administrator, and come to appreciate how Pepys’s singular literary enterprise would in many ways prefigure our modern selves. With exquisite insight and compassion, Samuel Pepys captures the uniquely fascinating figure whose legacy lives on more than three hundred years after his death.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Claire Tomalin

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Claire Tomalin is the author of eight highly acclaimed biographies including Thomas Hardy and Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self, which won the 2002 Whitbread Book of the Year Award. She has previously won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Biography, the Whitbread First Book Award, the Hawthornden Prize, the NCR Book Award for Non-Fiction, and the Whitbread Biography Award.
 
Published December 18, 2007 by Vintage. 530 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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indeed, Tomalin writes, one of the first bits of advice he received from a sea captain concerned “how to fiddle his expenses by listing five or six non-existent servants when he went on board and claiming pay for them all.” Though Pepys earned a fortune himself while in service, he conducted hims...

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The Guardian

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Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self by Claire Tomalin 499pp, Viking, £20 Sex, drink, plague, fire, music, marital conflict, the fall of kings, corruption and courage in public life, wars, navies, public executions, incarceration in the Tower: Samuel Pepys's life is full of irresistible material, an...

Oct 12 2002 | Read Full Review of Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled ...

The Guardian

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Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self by Claire Tomalin Viking £20, pp499 With the exception of Shakespeare, it's difficult to image a terrain more treacherous for the biographer than Samuel Pepys, who has achieved a status as the Ur-practitioner of diary-writing, a man for all occasions.

Sep 29 2002 | Read Full Review of Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled ...

Entertainment Weekly

It is, after all, difficult to condemn a man who watches the royal pooch ''s--- in the boat, which made us all laugh and me think that a King and all that belong to him are but just as others are.'' Originally posted Nov 26, 2002 Published in issue #684 Nov 29, 2002 Order article reprints

Nov 29 2002 | Read Full Review of Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled ...

BookPage

In his daily diary, Samuel Pepys described life in Restoration England, documenting catastrophic events like the Great Plague (1665) and the Great Fire (1666) in mesmerizing detail and commenting on England's stormy political scene.

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