The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn by Margaret Willes

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Margaret Willes’s new book shows more clearly and more engagingly than most previous works how this friendship developed, and offers a vivid and subtle depiction of her subjects’ sensibilities.
-The Economist

Synopsis

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.
 

About Margaret Willes

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Published September 19, 2017 by Yale University Press. 304 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Barbara Taylor on Dec 28 2017

Willes devotes several pages to the Evelyn/Blagge relationship but gives insufficient attention to its religiosity, which means she underplays Blagge’s part in it.

Read Full Review of The Curious World of Samuel P... | See more reviews from Guardian

The Economist

Good
on Aug 31 2017

Margaret Willes’s new book shows more clearly and more engagingly than most previous works how this friendship developed, and offers a vivid and subtle depiction of her subjects’ sensibilities.

Read Full Review of The Curious World of Samuel P... | See more reviews from The Economist
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