Ingenious John Evelyn's diary -- TLS Review of Darley
Ingenious John Evelyn's diary
Living for Ingenuity
382pp. Yale UP. £25.
0 300 11227 0
John Evelyn told Samuel Pepys: "It is not imaginable to such as have not tried, what labour an Historian (that would be exact) is condemn'd to: He must reade all, good, and bad, and remove a world of rubbish before he can lay the foundation". Evelyn was a reluctant historian, prevailed on by Charles II to attempt an official account of the Dutch wars. When his first volume appeared (Navigation and Commerce, 1674) the Dutch ambassador took umbrage and Evelyn got the blame: his subject of choice was gardening.