The Assassin's Cloak: An Anthology of the World's Greatest Diarists Paperback – 24 Jan 2008
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"I always say, keep a diary and someday it'll keep you", quipped Mae West, an insight that is wonderfully borne out in Irene and Alan Taylor's The Assassin's Cloak, an anthology of the world's greatest diarists. All of life can be found in this extraordinary compilation of diary entries by 170 of history's most famous (and infamous) diarists, beginning with "the Shakespeare of diarists", Samuel Pepys, and ending with the likes of the more notorious recent diarists, Roy Strong and Alan Clarke. The editors have cleverly arranged the book like a diary--there are entries for every day of the year, leading to fascinating juxtapositions, such as the thoughts of Leo Tolstoy, Queen Victoria and Josef Goebbels on three very different days in April. The selections are wonderfully judged, as they move from the momentous and the revealing--Noel Coward admitting "Gandhi has been assassinated. In my humble opinion, a bloody good thing but far too late"--to the banal and the downright bizarre--Wilhelm Reich claiming "I yearn for a beautiful woman with no sexual anxieties who will just take me! Have inhaled too much orgone radiation". Prepare to be shocked by the comments of those famous diarists you know, and intrigued by those you have never heard of (helpfully covered by short biographies at the end of the book), but more than anything be captivated by the sheer lust for life in all its detail reflected in a book that is clearly a long and arduous labour of love on the part of its authors. The sheer wealth of fascinating material in The Assassin's Cloak is overwhelming, and should be sampled day by day--rather like a diary. --Jerry Brotton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"A substantial treasury to dip into for years and years, to inspire new thoughts and enlighten all dullness ... it amply fills a gap in the classics of English-language anthologies." (Muriel Spark TLS)
"The result is a succession of surprises and delights, as all those solitary voices strike up a conversation across the years." (The Times)
"Gossipy, funny, perceptive and vicious extract. Every dip-in is a sheer delight." (Kenneth Baker Observer)
"Brilliant ... It's the perfect bedtime book." (Evening Standard)
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Top Customer Reviews
There is a giddy kaleidoscope of human life from tragedy, financial ruin, philosophical musings, guilty regrets, political observations, the worlds of religion, art, music, literature, to POW camps and concentration camps.
On the 7th February 1856 Tolstoy "quarrelled with Turgenev, and had a wench at my place". On the 31st January 1987 it is recorded that Enoch Powell was asked by his hairdresser how he would like his hair cut - "in silence" was the terse reply.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great book for dipping into - wide and varied diary entries. Fast and efficient service.Published 4 months ago by Camille
Great book to have lying around to dip into when you have a busy life. Better than a magazine full of self help tips and diets!Published 4 months ago by stillcrazy
This is my default present when I'm stuck for ideas - it works for just about anyone!Published 5 months ago by Anna P.
This is the second copy of this book I have bought as a gift and both recipients found it fascinating if rather large and heavy.Published 6 months ago by Polly Wolly Doodle