Synopses & Reviews
Ralph Josselin, vicar of Earls Colne in Essex from 1641 to his death in 1683, kept for almost forty years a remarkably detailed account of his life--his mental and emotional world as well as his activities. Few diaries from this period afford such a rounded picture of a family from so many aspects. Alan Macfarlane, a historian and lecturer in social anthropology at Cambridge University, explores through the diary Josselin's life as a farmer, businessman, Puritan clergyman, neighbor, husband, and father, providing a unique view of seventeenth-century life from the inside.
"The great merit of Macfarlane's book is that it poses questions; it teaches historians to look very much more closely, and in new ways, at familiar evidence; it brings familiar relationships into the centre of scrutiny; and it offers, in a significant way, the unit of one man's life, and of one man's economic fortunes, as a focus of study." --E. P. Thompson,