Private: Blog circa 1660, and more

Beginning today, Samuel Pepys’ diary, which started on January 1, 1660, is being presented as a weblog, with a new entry each day.

The site creator notes that

Pepys begins his diary at a crucial point in Britain’s history. In September 1658, Oliver Cromwell died, passing the title of Protector (king in all but name) to his son Richard. Pepys’ employer, Edward Mountagu was closely associated with the Cromwells’ reign and the 1656-7 attempt to make Oliver king (Oliver refused because he feared the army’s republicanism). Following Richard’s overthrow in April 1659 Mountagu found himself increasingly at odds with the government’s growing republican elements.

A summary of the larger historical context is available at this site. (Thanks to Max for the link.)

In today’s Independent, Stephen Bayley reviews two histories of the automobile and finds them lacking. Says Bayley:

I would not say that cars, even great cars, are art, since their design is a collaborative rather than a singular activity, but they have usurped art as a focus for the consumer’s aesthetic instruction. Today, people learn about expressive form, about light falling on complex surfaces, about colour, shape and telling details, from looking at cars, not from enduring the inane antics of the Turner Prize. “No dignity without chromium/ No truth but a glossy finish,” as William Carlos Williams mused.

Here is a very big fat subject indeed, yet the literature of the car is very thin.

Evidently Bayley believes he himself will be the authoritative scholar on the subject. “The great history of car design has not yet been written,” he says. “I know: I am still working on it.”

Art Speigelman exits The New Yorker again. While the split is “incredibly gentle and civilized on all sides,” Speigelman says, “the place I’m coming from is just much more agitated than The New Yorker’s tone. The assumptions and attitudes [I have] are not part of The Times Op-Ed page of acceptable discourse.” Tom Tomorrow can relate.

It seems J.K, Rowling is “far ahead of the pack as Britain’s highest-earning woman.”

And, finally, I’m reading Cheever’s The Wapshot Chronicle, and so far I think everyone I know should be reading it, too.

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