Who’s cool?

I built Midnight Never Come partly on the principle of “list everything awesome in that time period, then cram in as much of it as you can.” Which isn’t a bad method. So I’m going to repeat it again, and ask: who and what is cool in the seventeenth century?

I already know I’ll be using the Great Fire, the Civil War, execution of Charles I, Cromwell’s Commonwealth, and Restoration of Charles II. Maybe the Battle of Worcester, too. Other things springing to mind include Samuel Pepys, John Evelyn, John Milton, the Earl of Rochester, Aphra Behn, Restoration theatre, and the Dutch wars.

What else?

People, events, neat places, whatever. The broader a range of things I’m steeping in my head, the better this book will be.

0 Responses to “Who’s cool?”

  1. mrissa

    Have you read Neal Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle? Crammed full of 17th century awesome. With a little early 18th century awesome for the whipped cream on top.

  2. tessagratton

    Sir Thomas Browne, and Robert Kirk wrote The Secret Commonwealth towards the end of the century.

  3. sartorias

    How the churchills came to power (Grammont is most amusing on this matter), various court figures. Nell Gwynn. The Hanseatic league. Weird literature like Grimmelshausen’s Simplicissimus as a result of the thirty years war, specifically the horror of armies crashing back and forth over the land the common people try to till.

    Gustavus Adolphus, a sexy hero figure for several generations.

    • Marie Brennan

      Any recommended reading on any of those?

      • sartorias

        Simon Schama on the hanseatics. I haven’t checked into modern bios of Gwynn– Grimmelshausen and Grammont are of course sui generis. Maybe CV Wedgewood on the thirty years war is still the best on that subject, but I’d have to check–I confess I haven’t kept up with all contemporary scholarship on all fronts. (Too expensive!)

  4. querldox

    Isaac Newton (4 January 1643 – 31 March 1727).

    • Marie Brennan

      The book probably won’t go past 1666, so it’s on the early side for Newton. But I may hijack him for the backstory of a later book . . . .

  5. tybalt_quin

    Titus Oates and the “Popish Plot”, the Rye House Plot, Captain Blood and his attempt to steal the Crown Jewels, the Levellers (the political organisation, not the band), if you’re doing the Great Fire you might also want to consider the Great Plague, and Cromwell’s smashing of the Irish rebellion (it wasn’t cool, but it was significant)

    • Marie Brennan

      “Cool” is here defined as “something I might make interesting use of.” So any major political event like that qualifies for consideration.


  6. kythiaranos

    There was plague, too, a bit before the Great Fire. I take it you’re focusing on Britain?

  7. kleenestar

    Boyle invents the empirical method (more or less!). Experiments include demonstrating that flame cannot exist in a vacuum by pumping the air out of a glass tube and extinguishing the flame. Also he suffocated small animals in vacuum in front of the Scientific Society.

    Thomas Hobbes! Who had a huge feud with Boyle over whether a vacuum could exist, as a result of his political philosophy.

  8. jewell79

    I love the seventeenth century.

    Barbara Villiers (my favourite Charles II mistress – the first book I read about her was a bodice ripper which cast her in the part of innocent-but- passionate girl – it’s called Royal Mistress and it’s by Patricia Campbell Horton, but really, it’s a rip off of Forever Amber), Sir Peter Lely, Christopher Wren, witch-hunting and Matthew Hopkins, Chartists and Levellers, Prince Rupert, French fashions, George Villers (Duke of Buckingham), Catherine of Braganza and her formidable mother, beauty patches, the Cabal, Edward Hyde, Andrew Marvell.

    Book recommendations: Daniel Defoe, A Journal of the Plague Year; Kathleen Winsor, Forever Amber; Antonia Fraser, The Weaker Vessel.

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