Samuel Pepys Analysis

Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

How does Samuel Pepys’s Diary reflect his Puritan background?

How does Pepys’s Diary reflect his antipuritanical interests?

What does it mean to say that Pepys was “the ultimate Restoration man”?

Explain how Pepys’s exceptional powers of observation have vitalized our knowledge of the Great Plague and of the Great Fire.

In what way did Pepys’s concern with his health limit our perspective on his time and place?

What picture does the reader get of Pepys’s wife in his Diary?

How does Pepys contribute to our knowledge of the culture of later Stuart England?


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Bryant, Sir Arthur. Samuel Pepys. 3 vols. 1933-1938. Reprint. Chicago: Academy Chicago Publications, 1985. An older, standard Pepys biography.

Coote, Steve. Samuel Pepys: A Life. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2000. Coote’s portrait of Pepys brings the man and his era to life.

Ollard, Richard. Pepys: A Biography. 1974. Reprint. London: Allison & Busby, 2002. A thorough review of Pepys’s life.

Taylor, Ivan E. Samuel Pepys. Updated ed. New York: Twayne, 1989. A standard biography from Twayne’s English Authors series, updated from the 1967 edition. Includes bibliographical references.

Tomalin, Claire. Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002. Tomalin, an acclaimed biographer, illuminates Pepys’s entire life, showing him to be a man of interest and importance while examining his historical context.

Wheatley, Henry B. Samuel Pepys and the World He Lived In. 3d ed. New York: Haskell House, 1975. A classic work originally published in 1889.