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Proms Literary Festival: Pepys

To mark 350 years since its inception, Max Hastings and Jenny Uglow join Ian McMillan for performed excerpts and discussion about Samuel Pepys' diary. What is its lasting appeal?

Journalist and author Max Hastings and historian Jenny Uglow join presenter Ian McMillan for performed extracts and discussion to mark the 350 years since Samuel Pepys started the most influential diary in British history.

It's one of the most important sources for the English Restoration period - and from 1660 onwards provides eyewitness accounts of great events, such as the Plague of London, the Great Fire of London and the second Anglo-Dutch War.

But why does Pepys' work still talk to us across three and a half centuries? Is it the intimate confessions of his sexual misdemeanours - including being caught in flagrante by his wife? Or the frustrated insecurity about his career and need to work harder? Or is it the fascinating timeless window on one man's inner self?

Jenny Uglow's recently published biography of Charles II's reign draws heavily on Pepys for the set-pieces of the age. Max Hastings has recommended reading Pepys at bedtime as a corrective to any ideas that we face unprecedented disorder in our own age. They bring their own perspectives on Pepys to an audience at the Royal College of Music as part of the Proms Literary Festival. The Verb's Ian McMillan is the host.

20 minutes

Broadcast

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