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Women and the History of Samuel Pepys's Diary

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Version 2 2022-09-08, 09:32
Version 1 2021-09-24, 10:23
journal contribution
posted on 2022-09-08, 09:32 authored by Katherine Loveman

 Through focusing on the lives of women, this article examines silences and obfuscations in Samuel Pepys's diary and in the histories we tell about this most famous of Restoration sources. It begins by considering how the ways we read the diary today remain influenced by Pepys's decisions when preserving his papers. While his diary has increasingly been studied for what it reveals about early modern sex and/or women's lives, historians have faced difficulties in assessing and representing this content, partly because of measures devised by Pepys. Knowledge of his methods, together with close reading, can help us attend to what this source omits and elides. Historiography has often followed Pepys's lead when discussing his diary's sexual content, and it has also followed his lead in researching his kin. His father's family has been tracked over generations; meanwhile, basic facts about his mother and her family have remained unknown. The article traces Pepys's maternal kin, comparing new evidence with the diary's representation of social status and kinship networks. Pepys's diary is a vital source on the seventeenth century, but fully exploiting that source requires factoring in Pepys's methods of writing and preservation, and attending to what has gone unwritten. 

History

Author affiliation

Department of English

Version

  • VoR (Version of Record)

Published in

The Historical Journal

Publisher

Cambridge University Press (CUP)

issn

0018-246X

Acceptance date

2021-08-25

Copyright date

2021

Available date

2022-09-08

Language

en

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