Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
James Howell (c.1594-1666), was a British writer who is in many ways an emblematic figure of his age. The son of a Welsh clergyman, he was for much of his life in the shadow of his elder brother Thomas Howell , who became Bishop of Bristol. In 1613 he gained his B.A. from Jesus College, Oxford, and thereafter had a variety of employments, as an administrator for a glass manufacturer, and in the often combined roles of secretary and instructor to several noble families. As factory agent and negotiator he travelled widely in Europe, and learnt to speak several languages, apparently with great facility. Paramount amongst his priorities, though, was Royal, or at least aristocratic patronage.
On the eve of the English Civil War he finally gained a secretaryship of the Privy Council, which according to Daniel Woolf was "very close to the type of appointment that he had sought for 20 years" . The conflict meant that he never took up the position, and at about the same time, he wrote his first book, or "maiden Fancy", Dodona's Grove, which represented the history of England and Europe through the allegorical framework of a typology of trees. It is worth noting that he started to publish at this time of ferment although he was already well established as a writer of newsletters.
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