Thursday, January 28, 2010


Easy reading?

A milestone of sorts, reached last night - I began to read Volume IX of the Diary of Samuel Pepys. The last volume of the Diary. I am just now beginning to wonder what in the world I will read next, when his prose is no longer breaking over me in great waves every evening. Volume VIII was tough to swim through, to extend the metaphor a bit - six hundred pages, much of it closely-written court gossip and parliamentary problems concerning the dismal conduct of the Navy officials during the late war with the Dutch (which was by all accounts a total freaking shambles, excluding, of course, the behaviour of our relatively honest diarist, who did the best he could under the circumstances). Some paragraphs (most paragraphs) were demanding, with his run-on sentences covering multiple complex topics, rife with seventeenth-century usage and vocabulary, and I had to literally stop and re-read some paragraphs (most paragraphs) as I went along. This stretched out the six hundred pages somewhat.

I suspect that whatever I read next is going to seem ridiculously simple and easy to navigate, by comparison. I'm not used to this level of intellectual rigor. Which reminds me of finishing Montaigne's Essays - I felt just the same way, and had to let some time pass before I could pick up another book. But first, Volume IX, another six hundred pages. Full Pepys report soon, as I mull over what being immersed in this man's life has meant to me.

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