5 April 1666: ‘Sir William Penn is a total jerk’

Brodie Waddell

I’m planning to put together another post on microhistory in the next week or so, drawing on the responses to the original and my own muddled thoughts. Further comments are very welcome.

In the meantime, I thought a very brief addendum to Laura’s post on ‘dangerous diaries’ might not go amiss. As is so often the case, Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes provides valuable insights into historiographical controversies. (Even their names are historical!)

Calvin and Hobbes on journalsAs Laura pointed out, and as Calvin reminds us, it’s dangerous to take diaries at face value. Perhaps the quest for posthumous vengence explains why we find so many entries like this one, from April 1666, in Pepys’s diary:

To the office, where the falsenesse and impertinencies of Sir W. Pen would make a man mad to think of.

Beware the diarist with an axe to grind.

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