Description

    Samuel Pepys. Memoirs of Samuel Pepys, Esq. FRS. Secretary to the Admiralty in the Reigns of Charles II and James II, Comprising His Diary from 1659 to 1669, Deciphered by the Rev. John Smith, A.B. of St. John's College, Cambridge, From the Original Short-Hand MS. in the Pepysian Library, and a Selection from his Private Correspondence. London: Henry Colburn, 1825.

    First edition. Two large quarto volumes. xlii, 498 pages, plus 59-page index; 311 pages. Edited by Richard, Lord Braybooke. Illustrated with eleven engravings, one a fold-out map. Volume I features an engraved portrait frontispiece, volume II an engraved frontispiece of Pepys' library; both frontispieces have caused significant offsetting to title pages.

    Full polished mottled calf. Covers ruled in gilt, spines decoratively tooled and lettered in gilt with raised bands, marbled edges and endpapers. Significant offsetting from plates, as usual. Covers scuffed and scratched, edges worn. Overall, a sturdy and bright set, in very good condition.

    Written in shorthand between 1660 and 1669, this key historical record of Restoration London remained unpublished for more than 150 years after it was first written. The text was painstakingly deciphered from Pepys' shorthand by John Smith, a penniless student, who wrote of his experience: 'The original Diary is written in Short-hand, & extends to upwards of 3,000 pages...I deciphered the whole, & transcribed it in nearly 10,000 Quarto pages. When I commenced it, I did not know a single character of Short-hand, wh. varies much in places when Pepys wished to be unusually secret, & it occupied me in incessant labour for three years...' (Drinkwater, J., Pepys His Life & Character, pp. 207-208). One of the most important titles in all of English literature, and one of the most influential and illuminating personal histories ever written.

    Grolier, 100 English, 75.


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    Auction Dates
    October, 2008
    16th-18th Thursday-Saturday
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