This is an edition containing extracts from Pepys's ten-year diary, extracted from the original by Robert Latham in the 1970s and 1980s. (Latham edited the whole set in eleven volumes.) It is no more than a varied selection: there is much here and much left out, but enough to whet the appetite for more. (Claire Tomalin's biography "Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self" is a very good companion for his life either side of the diary-writing as well as setting the diary itself in good context.)
My problem with "The Illustrated Pepys", however, is the poor quality of the very illustrations that are supposed to set this volume aside from others of its ilk. All illustrations are contemporary and in black-and-white and are of generally poor quality.
The volume does, though, contain a good introduction. At the volume's end there is a chronology, a competent index and glossary, and a map of London of the time, but again of poor quality.
on 31 May 2001
Having a keen interest in London and its history I was very excited about this book initially, but my enthusiasm waned towards the end thereof. It is interesting, but does not contain as much detail regarding, for instance, the Plague as I had hoped. I did, however, find anecdotes like the one about the man who was given a sheep's blood transfusion to pacify him fascinating (and bizarre).
Pepys himself is a strange character, and at times almost unreal in his contradictions. One part piety and morality and one part lust and meanness, he could have been created by a good novelist.
Another point of criticism: At times I struggled with Pepys' olde English and a longer glossary (separate from the index) would have helped in this regard.