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Andrews [née Fairfield], Dame Cicily Isabel [pseud. Rebecca West] (1892–1983), writer, critic, and journalist, was born on 21 December 1892 at 28 Burlington Road, Westbourne Park, London, the youngest of three children (all daughters) of Charles Fairfield (1843–1906) and his wife, ...

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Arnold, Thomas (1823–1900), literary scholar and teacher, was born on 30 November 1823 at Laleham, Middlesex, the third of the nine surviving children of Dr Thomas Arnold (1795–1842), schoolmaster and clergyman, and his wife, Mary, née Penrose (1791–1873), youngest daughter of the Revd John Penrose...

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Bell, Sir (Harold) Idris (1879–1967), papyrologist and scholar of Welsh literature, was born on 2 October 1879 at Epworth, Lincolnshire, the son of Charles Christopher Bell (b. 1845), chemist, and his wife, Rachel Hughes (d. 1880). His father's family had been yeoman farmers in the north midlands and had marked literary leanings, his father not least; but the Welsh inheritance from his mother meant more to ...

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Bennett, Jack Arthur Walter (1911–1981), literary scholar, was born on 28 February 1911 at Auckland, New Zealand, the eldest son of Ernest Bennett, foreman shoemaker, and his wife, Alexandra Corrall. Both parents were born in Leicester in the 1880s: Ernest worked in shoe manufacturing, and emigrated to ...

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Blunden, Edmund Charles (1896–1974), poet and university teacher, was born on 1 November 1896 at 54A Tottenham Court Road, London, the eldest of the nine children (five sons and four daughters) of Charles Edmund Blunden (1871–1951) and his wife, Georgina Margaret (1868–1967), daughter of ...

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Bullen, Arthur Henry (1857–1920), literary editor and publisher, was born in London on 9 February 1857, the second son of George Bullen (1816x18–1894), and his first wife, Eliza Mary Martin (d. 1887). He was educated at the City of London School, where the headmaster, ...

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Capell, Edward (1713–1781), literary scholar, elder son of the Revd Gamaliel Capell, was born at Troston Hall, near Bury, Suffolk, on 11 June 1713. There were four other children. Capell was educated at Bury grammar school. On 15 May 1730 Capell was admitted a pensioner at ...

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Chalmers, Alexander (1759–1834), biographer and literary editor, was born on 29 March 1759 in Aberdeen and baptized that day at St Nicholas's in the city, the youngest son of James Chalmers (bap. 1713, d. 1764), printer and publisher [see under Chalmers family (per. 1736-1876)...

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Coleridge, Samuel Taylor (1772–1834), poet, critic, and philosopher, was born on 21 October 1772 at Ottery St Mary, Devon, and baptized there on 30 December, the youngest of ten children born to John Coleridge (bap. 1719, d. 1781), vicar of the town and master of the grammar school, and his second wife, ...

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Cunningham, Francis (1820–1875), army officer and literary editor, was the youngest son of Allan Cunningham (1784–1842), Scottish poet and songwriter, and his wife, Jean Walker (1791–1864). He inherited from his father a love of literature also seen in the life of his brother ...

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Dennis, John (1658–1734), literary critic, was born on 16 September 1658 in the parish of St Andrew's, Holborn, London, the only child of Francis Dennis (d. 1663), a saddler, and Sarah Dennis (d. 1709/10), who later married Thomas Sanderson, who was also a saddler, with whom she had a daughter, ...

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Dryden, John (1631–1700), poet, playwright, and critic, was born on 9 August 1631 at Aldwincle, Northamptonshire, the eldest of the fourteen children of Erasmus Dryden (c.1602–1654), son of Sir Erasmus Dryden (1553–1632) of Canons Ashby, and his wife, Mary (d...

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Ebsworth, Joseph Woodfall (1824–1908), literary editor and artist, was born on 2 September 1824 at 3 Gray's Walk, Lambeth, London, the younger son (of thirteen children) of Joseph Ebsworth (1788–1868), playwright and musician, and his wife, Mary Emma Ebsworth, née Fairbrother (1794–1881), also a playwright. In 1828 the family moved to ...

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Eliot, Thomas Stearns (1888–1965), poet, critic, and publisher, was born on 26 September 1888 at 2635 Locust Street, St Louis, Missouri, USA, the youngest of the seven children of Henry Ware Eliot (1843–1919) and Charlotte Champe Stearns (1843–1929), into an American family that took pains to impress on him the importance of its history and achievement....

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Elstob, Elizabeth (1683–1756), Anglo-Saxon scholar, was born on 29 September 1683 at Newcastle upon Tyne, the youngest of eight children of Ralph Elstob (1647–1688), merchant, and his wife, Jane Hall (d. 1692). After her mother's death Elizabeth was brought up in the household of her father's younger brother ...

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Evans, (Benjamin) Ifor, Baron Evans of Hungershall (1899–1982), literary scholar and college administrator, was born in Soho, London, on 19 August 1899, the younger son of Benjamin Evans, journeyman carpenter, and his wife, Ann Powell, both of whom came from Wales. He was educated at the ...

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Farmer, Richard (1735–1797), literary scholar and college head, the second son of Richard Farmer, woolman and maltster, and his wife, Hannah (1712–1808), daughter of John Knibb, was born at Leicester on 15 May 1735. He received his early education at the free grammar school in ...

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Flatman, Thomas (1635–1688), miniature painter and man of letters, is said to have been the son of a clerk in the court of chancery. According to his horoscope he was born on 21 February 1635 (Bodleian Quarterly Record, 8) in either ...

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Fox [afterwards Vassall], Henry Richard, third Baron Holland of Holland and third Baron Holland of Foxley (1773–1840), politician and man of letters, was the youngest child and only son of Stephen Fox, second Baron Holland (1745–1774), and Lady Mary Fitzpatrick (1746/7–1778), daughter of ...

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A. F. Pollard

revised by William Thomas

Froude, James Anthony (1818–1894), historian and man of letters, was born at Dartington rectory, Devon, on 23 April 1818. His father, Robert Hurrell Froude (1770/71–1859), son of Robert Froude of Walkhampton, Devon, and his wife, Phyllis Hurrell, graduated BA from Oriel College, Oxford...