The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn Margaret Willes

Format:
Hardback
Publication date:
22 Aug 2017
ISBN:
9780300221398
Imprint:
Yale University Press
Dimensions:
304 pages: 235 x 156mm
Illustrations:
47 color + 18 b-w illus.

An intimate portrait of two pivotal Restoration figures during one of the most dramatic periods of English history

Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn are two of the most celebrated English diarists. They were also extraordinary men and close friends. This first full portrait of that friendship transforms our understanding of their times.
 
Pepys was earthy and shrewd, while Evelyn was a genteel aesthete, but both were drawn to intellectual pursuits. Brought together by their work to alleviate the plight of sailors caught up in the Dutch wars, they shared an inexhaustible curiosity for life and for the exotic. Willes explores their mutual interests—diary-keeping, science, travel, and a love of books—and their divergent enthusiasms, Pepys for theater and music, Evelyn for horticulture and garden design. Through the richly documented lives of two remarkable men, Willes revisits the history of London and of England in an age of regicide, revolution, fire, and plague to reveal it also as a time of enthralling possibility.

Margaret Willes, formerly publisher at the National Trust, is author of several books, including Reading Matters and The Gardens of the British Working Class. She lives in London.

"This is a well-researched, illuminating and enjoyable book. Evelyn and Pepys lived through some of the most dramatic events in English history: regicide, plague, the Great Fire and revolution. These great diarists have left us unique and valuable insights into their world, when advances were being made in scientific thought, gardening, medicine, and international trade, despite the perils of the times. This book captures that energy and weaves details drawn from the writings of both men into a colourful and convincing panorama of seventeenth-century London." -- Dr. Margarette Lincoln, Visiting Research Fellow at Goldsmiths, University of London and Curator Emeritus at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich 

'Margaret Willes paints an increasingly detailed - and always fascinating - picture of seventeenth-century London. Both Samuel Pepys's frank Diary and John Evelyn's anxiously tidied account of the first years of the Restoration remain vivid today. Willes's book is a 'must' for anyone interested in people, or London, or the growth of society after the King returned.'
     -- Liza Picard, author of Restoration London.


'Glorious! Not only does Margaret Willes shed bright new light on two of the 17th century's most endearing characters, she recreates the worlds they inhabited with remarkable elegance and clarity.'
            -- Adrian Tinniswood, author of His Invention So Fertile: A Life of Christopher Wren.