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Aaronson, Lazarus (1895–1966), poet and educationist, was born at 34 Great Pearl Street, Spitalfields, London, on 18 February 1895, the son of Louis Aaronson, master bootmaker, and his wife, Sarah, née Kowalski. His parents were impoverished Jewish immigrants from Vilna in the Pale...

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Abercrombie, Lascelles (1881–1938), poet and literary critic, was born at Manor House, Ashton upon Mersey, Cheshire, on 9 January 1881, the sixth son, and the tenth of eleven children (two of whom died in childhood), of William Abercrombie (1838–1908), stockbroker, of Ashton upon Mersey...

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Adamson, Henry (bap. 1581, d. 1637), poet and historian, was baptized in Perth on 11 November 1581, the son of the merchant James Adamson (d. after 1617), who served as dean of guild in 1600 and provost between 1609 and 1612, and ...

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Francesco Algarotti, Count Algarotti in the Prussian nobility (1712–1764) by Jean-Étienne Liotard, c. 1745 Rijksprentenkabinet, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

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Algarotti, Francesco, Count Algarotti in the Prussian nobility (1712–1764), poet and scholar, was born on 11 December 1712 in the family home in Venice on the Fondamenta Nuove, the second son of Rocco Algarotti (d. 1726) and his wife, Maria Mercati. His father was a prosperous merchant of Paduan origin, settled in ...

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Ammonius, Andreas [Andrea della Rena] (bap. 1476, d. 1517), humanist scholar and poet, was the son of Elisabetta Vanni and her husband, Francesco della Rena (dell' Arena). Of a family long established as silk weavers at Lucca, he was baptized in the cathedral there on 13 October 1476. In preparation for an ecclesiastical career, he studied with ...

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André [Andreas], Bernard (c. 1450–1522), poet and historian, was a Frenchman by birth, being a native of Toulouse, but came to England together with, or shortly before, Henry VII, whose panegyrist and historiographer he became. He is described by a contemporary as of distinguished birth, and he had entered the ...

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Matthew Arnold (1822–1888) by George Frederic Watts, 1880 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Arnold, Matthew (1822–1888), poet, writer, and inspector of schools, was born at Laleham-on-Thames, Middlesex, on 24 December 1822, the eldest son and second of the nine surviving children of the Revd Thomas Arnold (1795–1842) and Mary Penrose Arnold (1791–1873). Thomas Arnold had been a fellow of ...

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Ashmore, John (fl. 1621), translator and poet, was probably a native of the area near Ripon in Yorkshire (to which his poems repeatedly refer), but his life appears obscure. There are no records of his attending university. He was the first to publish a selection of ...

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Austin, William (b. 1627/8, d. in or before 1677), poet and classical scholar, was born in the parish of St Saviour, Southwark, the second son in the family of four children of William Austin (c. 1587–1634), writer and barrister, and his second wife, ...

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Peter Davidson and Ian William McLellan

Ayres, Philip (1638–1712), poet and translator, was born at Cottingham, Northamptonshire, and educated at Westminster School under Richard Busby. He is said to have been a member of St John's College, Oxford, but there is no record of his having matriculated at that university. By January 1666 he was attached to ...

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Barbour, John (c. 1330–1395), ecclesiastic and verse historian, was author of the Old or Middle Scots poem The Bruce. His birth is usually placed about 1325, as much to give him a toehold in Robert I's reign as for anything his career tells us, and a slightly later date seems likelier. The trade name he inherited suggests that his father was a barber, and ...

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Maurice Baring (1874–1945) by Howard Coster, 1934 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Robert Speaight

revised by Annette Peach

Baring, Maurice (1874–1945), poet and author, was born at 37 Church Street, Mayfair, London, on 27 April 1874, the fifth son of Edward Charles Baring (1828–1897), who became first Baron Revelstoke, banker, and his wife, Louisa Emily Charlotte (d. 1892), daughter of ...

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William Barnes (1801–1886) by George Stuckey, c. 1870 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Barnes, William (1801–1886), poet and philologist, was born on 22 February 1801, in a cob and thatch cottage, Rushay Farm, on Bagber Common, near Sturminster Newton, Dorset, the sixth of seven children of John Barnes (bap. 1762, d. 1846), and his wife, ...

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James Beattie (1735–1803) by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1773 [The Triumph of Truth, with the Portrait of a Gentleman] University of Aberdeen

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Beattie, James (1735–1803), poet and philosopher, was baptized at Laurencekirk, Kincardineshire, on 25 October 1735, the youngest of six children of James Beattie (d. c.1742), tenant farmer and village shopkeeper, and Jean Watson (c.1692–1772). His father, who died when ...

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Beaumont, Joseph (1616–1699), poet and college head, was born at Hadleigh, Suffolk, on 13 March 1616, the second of the four sons of John Beaumont (1584–1653), clothier, and his wife, Sarah Clarke (d. 1646). He was educated at the local grammar school under ...