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The extraordinary Diary of Samuel Pepys (1633–1703) begins on New Year’s Day, 1660 and ends on May 31, 1669. He vividly describes contemporary life, the Plague and Great Fire, and an attack on London by the Dutch. The work was written in shorthand and only deciphered in 1825.
Samuel Johnson (1709–84) was a towering literary figure who presided over gatherings in pubs, coffee houses and literary clubs, as well as in his own home (see Dr Johnson), and had opinions on everything. His satirical poem, London (1738), attacked poverty in the city and his parliamentary ...