Diary of a somebody
Wednesday 24 December 1997
The earliest recorded diary was aimed at the unsensational citizens of Breslau, Poland, when Bernhard Cracker published his Neu und Alter Schreib Kalendar in 1594 (to jot down their forthcoming power lunches).
It was over a century before the first recorded pocket diary was produced in Stuttgart in 1707. And it was not until 1816 that John Letts of London launched his desk diary in Britain.
The word diary comes from the Latin diarium, which derives from dies (day) and referred to a personal daily record of one's life and times. One of the earliest surviving diaries is the Kagero Nikki, kept by a Japanese noblewoman between 954 and 974AD. The earliest diary in English was by Edward VI, who came to the throne in 1547.
Samuel Pepys kept his diary meticulously from 1 January 1660 to 31 May 1669, but in a code which was not cracked until 1825. His contemporary John Evelyn scribbled away at his own records from 1641 to 1706. Jonathan Swift wrote his Journal to Stella from 1710 to 1713 and Boswell made his Journal last from 1762 to 1776. John Wesley spun his Journal out for 55 years and by the time Fanny Burney signed off from her diary in 1840 she had clocked up an incredible six decades.
The most moving diary was written in secret by Ann Frank and funniest was written by George and Weedon Grossmith. The title of their fictional work sums up most of those which will be started on next week: Diary of a Nobody.
Life & Style blogs
Who is Teresa Fidalgo? Debunking the fake ghost story that's got Instagram spooked
Paris Fashion Week: Skirting the issue for the stylish boys' brigade
Losing appetite as you age? Try adding umami flavour to restore the 'joy of taste'
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
Miss Universe 2015: A beefeater, a yellow tree and an entire hockey game - the bizarre national costumes
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
- 1 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 2 UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Warriors in ancient Iraq suffered Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder more than 3,000 years ago, say researchers
- 5 This crazy skiing video will leave you feeling queasy
£22000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An established, family owned de...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An exciting position has risen for a Customer ...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join a is a...
£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A smart software company locate...