George Stepney, 1663-1707: Diplomat and Poet
George Stepney was one of the most remarkable men of the end of the seventeenth century. He was considered one of the eight poets worthy of emulation, while 'no Englishman ever understood the affairs of Germany so well, and few Germans better.' A member of the Kit-Cat Club, and respected by Halifax and Marlborough, he - a commoner - was carried to his grave in Westminster Abbey by two dukes, two earls and two barons. Despite his importance for students of the period, and the fascination of his story in its own right, the only study of his life to date has been an article in The Huntingdon Library Quarterly from 1946. Miss Spens's biography is therefore a major contribution to scholarship which will prove invaluable to the international academic community. Diplomatic history has tended to focus on the monarchs and princes rather than on the handful of professional diplomats whose job it was to 'lie abroad for their country', of whom Stepney stands as an unusually well-documented example. Besides arousing the enthusiasm of specialists this volume will complement works on figures as diverse as William III and John Dryden. The fruit of over ten years' research in major archival collections throughout Europe, George Stepney provides new and valuable material on a key period of political and military history.
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