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Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self | [Claire Tomalin]

Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self

Samuel Pepys kept a diary in which he wrote with astonishing candour about the life he saw around him in London in the 1660s, and about his private desires and ambitions. The diary was kept for fewer than 10 years of his long life: Claire Tomalin tells the whole story of the Fleet Street tailor's son who made himself rich and powerful, an MP and adviser to royalty.
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Publisher's Summary

Samuel Pepys kept a diary in which he wrote with astonishing candour about the life he saw around him in London in the 1660s, and about his private desires and ambitions. The diary was kept for fewer than 10 years of his long life: Claire Tomalin tells the whole story of the Fleet Street tailor's son who made himself rich and powerful, an MP and adviser to royalty. She also traces his relations with many women, from countesses to servant girls, in a biography that is funny, moving, and as candid as Pepys himself.

©2002 Claire Tomalin; (P)2002 Penguin Books Ltd

What the Critics Say

"Tomalin not only brings him back to vibrant life, but makes a powerful case that he's more central, more 'relevant' than we ever imagined....She has restored to us the whole Pepys." (The New York Times Book Review)
"Our greatest diarist, analyzed by one of our greatest biographers. Tomalin's flawless research and trademark empathy with her subjects should make this portrait of one of the most fascinating characters of 17th-century England the best biography of the autumn." (Sunday Times [London]) "Tomalin writes brilliant chapters on all aspects of Pepys's life, relying not only on the diary but also on impressive scholarship....For those who have already enjoyed the diary, Tomalin's learned and entertaining work admirably fills in the gaps." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Robyn Modbury, Australia 05-08-13
    Robyn Modbury, Australia 05-08-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    31
    ratings
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    54
    54
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    4
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    Overall
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    Story
    "Meet Pepys the man, his life, and his diary"

    Claire Tomalin certainly knows how to tell a good story. This is a fascinating biography of Pepys, as well as the story of his diary - what it looks like, what it feels like, how he used it, and what happened to it after he died. To bring these parallel stories to life she has recreated the world in which Pepys lived, and introduces us to the people he knew and worked with. This is all supplemented by Tomalin's research into Pepys' life and times, and illuminated by passages from the diary. It's as close as you can get to meeting the man, and visiting the England of his day. Beautifully written, and competently read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melissa Toronto, Ontario, Canada 01-18-10
    Melissa Toronto, Ontario, Canada 01-18-10 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    23
    ratings
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    10
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    Overall
    "A Personal Masterpiece in Detailed Context"

    I know I like Claire Tomalins' biographies, but in this one is special because Pepys gives her some fabulous material to work with. The narrator sounds engaged in the story and overall, this is a great audiobook!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anthony Prince Albert, SK, Canada 09-12-05
    Anthony Prince Albert, SK, Canada 09-12-05
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
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    Overall
    "Enthralling"

    Claire Tomalin brings the author of the famous diaries to life in this engaging, sympathetic and unsentimental biography. With insight (and a certain amount of scholarly sleuthing) she presents us with a three-dimensional portrait of a great, if not always admirable, figure. There is plenty of fun here, lots of Restoration colour, and of course Pepys' own often outrageous opinions, but also much insight into human nature, elegantly and unpretentiously described. The years in which Pepys was writing his diaries are the meat of the book, and Tomalin would have done well to allow Pepys to speak for himself more often in this period, but this is a small complaint. The narrator is warm and unobtrusive. Altogether a most enjoyable listen. Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-3 of 3 results
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  • Cathy
    Oxford, UK
    10/29/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A book club choice, unexpectedly enjoyed this"
    Would you listen to Samuel Pepys again? Why?

    Yes, and furthermore, Claire tomalin made this difficult diary come to life


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Samuel Pepys


    Have you listened to any of Jill Balcon’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    Not sure if I have listened to Jill balcon before


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Not an emotional reaction but very pleased that I read this


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Miss
    Saffron Walden, United Kingdom
    5/25/12
    Overall
    "Very interesting"

    I really enjoyed this book. It moved along at a much more spanking rate than Tomalin's other recent biography on Charles Dickens (perhaps as there is less material available to the biographer?), so was quite gripping. But another man I found I didn't like much! Tomalin does give herself away this time in her admiration of him, less impartial in her view. Jill Balcon has a lovely measured 'posh' way of speaking, This is pitched perfectly at some points, like when describing in graphic detail the procedure of having ones kidney stones removed by 1600's method without anaesthetic! Think her dulcit tones where the only thing that got me through that passage!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-2 of 2 results

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