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.