20 March 1983. There are sheep in the field. ‘I know what they are,’ she says, ‘but I don’t know what they are called. Thus Wittgenstein is routed by my mother. Alan Bennett’s diary for 1983 was the first to be published in the London Review of Books. ‘Besides the occasional incident that seems worth recording,’ he wrote then, ‘I put down gossip and notes on work and reading.’ Forty years on, his approach remains the same, and his diary has become a cornerstone of the first LRB of the year. This new selection accompanies the LRB’s diary for 2023: a classic entry for each week of the year, with illustrations by Jon McNaught – ‘of things from my desk, shelves and so on’ – and the usual useful features.