Beatrix Potter is one of the most famous writers in history. If her name does not ring a bell the name of her lead character, Peter Rabbit, surely will. Potter wrote 30 books in her lifetime with the majority being children’s tales about the adventures of mischevious animals. Yet one story was not released until after her death. What many now call her greatest work was written in a code that took years to crack. Read on to find out more about Potter’s secret book.
The stories of Beatrix Potter have been retold countless times. Only recently, in 2018 was her most famous character turned into the computer-animated comedy ‘Peter Rabbit’. Indeed, Potter’s own story reached the big screens in 2008 when Renee Zellweger played her in her life story detailing her incredible writing and romantic life. Yet while Potter’s most famous stories have been read to children at bedtime for many years one story never received publication.
That story is the secret diary of Beatrix Potter. Potter kept a diary for years but was so afraid of her mother reading it that she wrote it in a special cipher that no one knew. Before dying, she only mentioned the secret work once to a friend in a letter. After that, it was forgotten.
That was until one day when a young relative of Potter found 15 years of writing that had never been discovered before. She handed them over to a devout Potter fan who started to translate them straight away or at least try. It took Leslie Linder 13 years in total to crack the code and translate all the texts. He almost gave up only to discover a fortunate sequence in the text that revealed a year and a King’s name. Following this, he found the word execution and was able to translate the full alphabet.
While to many Potter was a children’s author and nothing more, the secret diary elevated her status as a writer of incredible perception, a commentator on her times, and an exquisite master of language and writing. What may have been lost for a lifetime has created her greatest legacy.