Evelyn, John (ēvˈəlĭn, ĕvˈlĭn) [key], 1620–1706, English diarist and miscellaneous writer. Although of royalist sympathies, he took little active part in the civil war. After 1652 he lived as a wealthy country gentleman at Sayes Court, Deptford, where he cultivated his garden and wrote on various subjects, including reforestation, natural science, the history of art, and numismatics. After the Restoration he became a public servant and was one of the founders of the Royal Society. His best-known work is his lifelong diary, less intimate than that of Pepys, but full of historical information about 17th-century England. It was first published in 1818 (modern ed. by E. S. de Beer, 6 vol., 1955). He is also famous for his Life of Mrs. Godolphin (ed. by Harriet Sampson, 1939).
See biographies by W. Hiscock (1955), A. Ponsonby (1933, repr. 1969), and B. Saunders (1970); F. Harris, Transformations of Love (2003).
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