John Martin Evans was born in Cardiff, Wales, on Feb. 2, 1935. After a two-year stint working in military intelligence for
the Royal Air Force from 1953 to 1955, Evans attended Oxford, where he received his BA in 1958 from Jesus College, and his
MA and DPhil from Merton College in 1963. At Oxford, his thesis advisor was Dame Helen Gardner, the doyenne of 17th-century
studies. Under her guidance, he began a lifelong career in Milton studies. Gardner was influential in other ways: She convinced
Evans to apply to Stanford when the academic job market in Britain was so poor that 250 scholars with doctorates in English
were competing for two university positions.
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