The Assassin's Cloak: An Anthology of the World's Greatest Diarists

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With 170 contributors, a scope that is peerless, international and crosses centuries The Assassin's Cloak pays tribute to a fascinating genre that is at once the most intimate and public of all literary forms. There are several diary excerpts for every day of the year beginning with Samuel Pepys and along the way we meet cads and charmers, sailors and psychopaths, rock stars and prima ballerinas, gossips, drunks, snobs, lechers and lovers. There is humour and tragedy, history and the humdrum, often recoded on the same day or in the same entry.

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Review:

"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

Review:

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 * * This gives a breath-taking selection from some of the world's greatest diarists throughout the ages ... a treat for browsing or longer sessions. * * Scotland on Sunday * * A sumptous feast. This inspired anthology of diverse diary entries, selected chiefly for their honesty, is relentlessly thought-provoking. * * The Independent * *

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9781841954592: The Assassin's Cloak: An Anthology of the World's Greatest Diarists

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  1841954594 ISBN 13:  9781841954592
Publisher: Canongate Books, 2008
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9780862419202: The Assassin's Cloak: An Anthology of the World's Greatest Diarists

Canong..., 2000
Hardcover

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