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What COVID Diaries Have in Common with Samuel Pepys’ 17th-Century Plague Diaries
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about unprecedented challenges and changes in our lives. One way many people have coped with these uncertain times is by keeping diaries or journals to document their experiences. Interestingly, this practice of recording personal experiences during times of crisis is not new. In fact, it dates back centuries, as seen in Samuel Pepys’ 17th-century plague diaries.
1. Capturing Historical Moments
Both COVID diaries and Pepys’ plague diaries serve as historical records of significant events. They provide firsthand accounts of the impact of a pandemic on individuals and society as a whole. These diaries offer valuable insights into the emotions, struggles, and resilience of people during times of crisis.
2. Expressing Personal Thoughts and Feelings
Diaries are a medium for individuals to express their thoughts, feelings, and fears. Whether it’s Pepys documenting his anxieties about the plague or individuals today sharing their experiences with COVID-19, diaries provide a safe space to process emotions and reflect on personal experiences.
3. Documenting Daily Life
Both COVID diaries and Pepys’ plague diaries document the daily lives of individuals during a pandemic. They capture the mundane details, routines, and challenges faced by people in their day-to-day activities. These records offer a glimpse into the ordinary lives of individuals living through extraordinary times.
4. Sharing Information and Advice
During times of crisis, people often share information and advice to help others navigate through difficult situations. Pepys’ plague diaries contain valuable information about the spread of the disease, preventive measures, and treatments. Similarly, COVID diaries often include tips, resources, and personal experiences that can benefit others.
5. Leaving a Legacy
Both COVID diaries and Pepys’ plague diaries leave behind a legacy for future generations. These personal accounts provide a window into the past, allowing future historians and researchers to understand the impact of pandemics on society, culture, and individual lives. They serve as a reminder of the resilience and strength of humanity in the face of adversity.
While separated by centuries, COVID diaries and Samuel Pepys’ 17th-century plague diaries share commonalities in their purpose and significance. They both serve as historical records, provide a platform for personal expression, document daily life, share information and advice, and leave behind a legacy for future generations. By keeping diaries during times of crisis, individuals contribute to the collective memory and understanding of the human experience.