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216 × 138 mm
328 pages
51 illustrations, 10 in colour
20 Oct 2017
Renaissance Lives

John Evelyn A Life of Domesticity John Dixon Hunt

The work of English writer, gardener and diarist John Evelyn is of great historical value. His most famous work, his Diary, which he kept throughout his life, is considered an invaluable source of information on more than fifty years of social, cultural, religious and political life in seventeenth-century England. But Evelyn’s work is often overshadowed by the literary contributions of his contemporary and friend Samuel Pepys.

John Dixon Hunt’s biography takes a fresh look at the life and work of one of England’s greatest diarists, focusing particularly on the seventeenth-century notion of ‘domesticity’. He explores Evelyn’s domestic life and, more importantly, the domestication of foreign ideas and practices in England. From his early, extensive European travels, Evelyn imbibed ideas above all on the management of estate design and developed an understanding of how to explore English topography. The book puts Evelyn’s great accomplishment – making European garden art available in the UK – into context alongside a range of social and ethical ideas.

Illustrated with visual material from Evelyn’s time and often from his own pen, this is an ideal introduction to a seventeenth-century figure of huge importance in early modern Britain.

‘John Dixon Hunt’s richly textured and highly readable account sheds new light on Evelyn . . . This is more than a biography. It is an invaluable insight into a world in intellectual ferment, on the brink of the modern age.’ – Tom Williamson, Professor of Landscape History, University of East Anglia.

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John Dixon Hunt is Emeritus Professor of the History and Theory of Landscape, University of Pennsylvania. His previous books include A World of Gardens (Reaktion, 2012), Site, Sight, Insight: Essays on Landscape Architecture (2016) and The Making of Place (Reaktion, 2016).