James Howell
Overview
 
James Howell was a 17th-century Anglo-Welsh historian and writer who is in many ways a representative figure of his age. The son of a Welsh
Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

 clergyman, he was for much of his life in the shadow of his elder brother Thomas Howell
Thomas Howell (Bishop of Bristol)
-Life:Howell was born in Llangamarch, Brecknockshire, Wales. Son of Thomas Howell, by a daughter of James David Powell, was born at Bryn, in the parish of Llangammarche, Breckonshire 1588, His father rector perpetual of Llangammarche and also of Abernant in Carmarthenshire. He was the older brother...

, who became Lord Bishop
Bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

 of Bristol.
In 1613 he gained his B.A. from Jesus College, Oxford
Jesus College, Oxford
Jesus College is one of the colleges of the University of Oxford in England. It is in the centre of the city, on a site between Turl Street, Ship Street, Cornmarket Street and Market Street...

 – he was to be elected to a fellowship at Jesus College in 1623, but he was never formally admitted and his place was taken by another in 1626.
Quotations

He that hath eaten a bear-pie, will always smell of the Beargarden|garden.

A hungry man is an angry man.

Owe money at Easter and Lent will seem short to thee.

Words and works eat not at one table.

The Devil turns his back to a door that is shut.

Happy is he that grows wise by other men's harms.

God consents but not always.

Neither go to a wedding nor a christening unbid.

Affection is blind reason.

To whom thy secret thou dost tell, to him thy freedom thou dost sell.

Encyclopedia
James Howell was a 17th-century Anglo-Welsh historian and writer who is in many ways a representative figure of his age. The son of a Welsh
Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

 clergyman, he was for much of his life in the shadow of his elder brother Thomas Howell
Thomas Howell (Bishop of Bristol)
-Life:Howell was born in Llangamarch, Brecknockshire, Wales. Son of Thomas Howell, by a daughter of James David Powell, was born at Bryn, in the parish of Llangammarche, Breckonshire 1588, His father rector perpetual of Llangammarche and also of Abernant in Carmarthenshire. He was the older brother...

, who became Lord Bishop
Bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

 of Bristol.

Education

In 1613 he gained his B.A. from Jesus College, Oxford
Jesus College, Oxford
Jesus College is one of the colleges of the University of Oxford in England. It is in the centre of the city, on a site between Turl Street, Ship Street, Cornmarket Street and Market Street...

 – he was to be elected to a fellowship at Jesus College in 1623, but he was never formally admitted and his place was taken by another in 1626. Until he was 13, he was schooled in Hereford. He went to Oxford at the age of 13, like most other undergraduates of his day.

Career

After graduation, he 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 traveled widely in Europe and learned to speak several languages, apparently with great facility. He also met and befriended numerous literary figures, among them Ben Jonson
Ben Jonson
Benjamin Jonson was an English Renaissance dramatist, poet and actor. A contemporary of William Shakespeare, he is best known for his satirical plays, particularly Volpone, The Alchemist, and Bartholomew Fair, which are considered his best, and his lyric poems...

 and Kenelm Digby
Kenelm Digby
Sir Kenelm Digby was an English courtier and diplomat. He was also a highly reputed natural philosopher, and known as a leading Roman Catholic intellectual and Blackloist. For his versatility, Anthony à Wood called him the "magazine of all arts".-Early life and career:He was born at Gayhurst,...

. Paramount amongst his priorities was however royal, or at least aristocratic patronage.

On the eve of the English Civil War
English Civil War
The English Civil War was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians and Royalists...

, he finally gained a secretaryship of the Privy Council
Privy Council of the United Kingdom
Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, usually known simply as the Privy Council, is a formal body of advisers to the Sovereign in the United Kingdom...

, which according to one eminent critic, 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
Dodona's Grove
Dodona's Grove is a historical allegory by James Howell, making extensive use of tree lore.-Description:This curiosity purports to be a history of Europe since the accession of James I of England put into an allegorical form in which the roles of the various Kings, princes and nobles are taken by...

, 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 what we would know today as 'newsletters' but were then known as 'tracts' or 'pamphlets'.

He was the first writer to earn his living solely from writing in the English language. He was also the first writer of an epistolary novel, a novel of letters, in English ("Familiar Letters"). His "Lexicon Tetragloton" was not a dictionary in four languages, as its name would suggest, but in six; a dictionary of Latin vernacular (Romance language) proverbs. It is a highly respected work in the Portuguese and Spanish languages as well, quite apart from his native Welsh. He was a prolific writer. His "New English Grammar" is also considered, by modern historians of formal English as a work of foreign language teaching and as the first work of its kind in the English language.
He had a family tree parallel to the Herbert family of Swansea, Earl of Pembroke descendant of Nest and Hywel Dda
Hywel Dda
Hywel Dda , was the well-thought-of king of Deheubarth in south-west Wales, who eventually came to rule Wales from Prestatyn to Pembroke. As a descendant of Rhodri Mawr, through his father Cadell, Hywel was a member of the Dinefwr branch of the dynasty and is also named Hywel ap Cadell...

 of Wales. Gerald Cambrensis, Gerald of Wales son of Nest, was historiographer royal five hundred years before, on a journey of conquest to Ireland, the story of which, one of the finest works of literature in the Welsh language.
James Howell may also have been closely linked by family, to Thomas Howell, a 16th century love poet, probably his grandfather, who was in the service of the first Earl above, in a clerical capacity. Whilst he corresponded with a certain Earl of Pembroke in his own Epistolae Ho-Elianae
Epistolae Ho-Elianae
Epistolae Ho-Elianae is a literary work by the 17th-century Anglo-Welsh historian and writer, James Howell. It was mainly written when Howell was in the Fleet Prison, during the 1640s; but its content reflects earlier travels he made from 1616 on behalf of a London glass factory. It appeared in...

 and was great friends with Ben Jonson, his literary 'father', he does not himself make mention of this family tie. His line of descent was from Dafydd Gam
Dafydd Gam
Dafydd ap Llewelyn ap Hywel , better known as Dafydd Gam or Davy Gam, was a Welsh medieval nobleman, a prominent opponent of Owain Glyndŵr, who died at the Battle of Agincourt fighting for King Henry V, King of England in that victory against the French...

.

Thomas Howell (born about 1538), who is thought to have hailed from Dunster, Somerset, with roots in Caerfyrddyn, may have been one of the gentry encouraged to learn Latin at the time. Howell's Proverbs (1659), contains probably his most famous quote; All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy is a proverb. It means that without time off from work, a person becomes both bored and boring.-History:...

.

Principal literary works

  • Howell, James. Dendrologia, Dodona's Grove
    Dodona's Grove
    Dodona's Grove is a historical allegory by James Howell, making extensive use of tree lore.-Description:This curiosity purports to be a history of Europe since the accession of James I of England put into an allegorical form in which the roles of the various Kings, princes and nobles are taken by...

    , or the Vocall Forest.(Part 2) Allegory. 1640.
  • England’s Teares for the present Warres (addendum to some editions Dodona's grove)
  • Familiar Letters or Epistolae Ho-Elianae
    Epistolae Ho-Elianae
    Epistolae Ho-Elianae is a literary work by the 17th-century Anglo-Welsh historian and writer, James Howell. It was mainly written when Howell was in the Fleet Prison, during the 1640s; but its content reflects earlier travels he made from 1616 on behalf of a London glass factory. It appeared in...

    .
  • Instructions for Forraine Travell. 1642
  • Louis XIII. 1646
  • A Perfect Description of the Country of Scotland 1649
  • Londonopolis: An Historical Discourse or Perlustration of the City of London. 1657
  • Lexicon Tetraglotton. 1660.
  • Paramoigraphy (Proverbs). 1659.
  • Parley of Beasts
  • Preheminence and Pedigree of Parliament 1677
  • Translation: Beginning, Continuance and Decay of Estates.(from French)
  • Discourse of Dunkirk 1664
  • Sober Inspections.
  • Observations. Finett (JH Editor)
  • St.Paul's Late Progress
  • A Survay of the Signorie of Venice
  • The German diet on the Balance of Europe (1653)
  • A New English Grammar prescribing certain Rules as the language will bear for Foreigners to learn English
  • History of the late revolution in the Kingdom of Naples
  • Perambulation of Spain and Portugal
  • The last will and testament of the late renowned Cardinal Mazarini, deceased February 27, 1660 together with some historical remarques of his life. Translation JH.
  • The Venice Looking Glass

Literary criticism

  • Daniel Woolf : Constancy and Ambition in the work of James Howell
  • Javier Escribano : Proverbios,Refránes Y Traducción (Lexicon Tetraglotton)
  • Paul Seaward: (1988) A Restoration Publicist:James Howell and the Earl of Clarendon, 1661-6
  • W H Vann's Catalogue of Howell works (c1920)
  • Sanchez Sederi English Grammar

Legacy

The memorial to James Howell in the Temple Church
Temple Church
The Temple Church is a late-12th-century church in London located between Fleet Street and the River Thames, built for and by the Knights Templar as their English headquarters. In modern times, two Inns of Court both use the church. It is famous for its effigy tombs and for being a round church...

for which he paid himself, as mentioned in his will of 1666, was destroyed in World War II.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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