Robert Clifford Latham 1912–1995

Eamon Duffy

in Proceedings of the British Academy, Volume 166, Biographical Memoirs of Fellows, IX

Published by British Academy

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780197264751
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734229 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Robert Clifford Latham 1912–1995

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Robert Clifford Latham never wrote a monograph of his own, and published fewer than a dozen scholarly articles. But his life-enhancing work as editor of the definitive edition of the most vivid and revealing diary in the language will be remembered with affection and gratitude far beyond the world of learning, when the historical writings of most of his colleagues and contemporaries have been long forgotten. The six manuscript volumes of the diary of Samuel Pepys formed part of the magnificent library Pepys had bequeathed to his Alma Mater, Magdalene College Cambridge. Overlooked for more than a century, they were first published in a much abbreviated and bowdlerized form in 1825. Both the College and Bell and Sons, the publishers of the Diary, were acutely aware of the need for a new scholarly edition, but for the first half of the 20th century the project was dogged by amateurism and a marked absence of urgency on the part of those involved. Latham eventually undertook editorial oversight of the project as a whole. The success of the Pepys edition brought him many honours: the CBE in 1973, election to the British Academy in 1982, an honorary Fellowship of Magdalene in 1984, and of Royal Holloway in 1989.

Keywords: editor; Samuel Pepys; diary; biography; obituary

Chapter.  4714 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Theory, Methods, and Historiography

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