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The Study Of Literature
English Literature Of The 19th Century:
 Third Or Later Victorian Period

 William Ewart Gladstone

 John Morley

 Historical Literature Of The Later Victorian Period

 Edward Augustus Freeman

 James Anthony Froude

 Sir Henry Sumner Maine

 William Edward Hartpole Lecky

 James Bryce

 John Addington Symonds

 Read More Articles About: English Literature Of The 19th Century

John Addington Symonds

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

Another noted historian, who gave attention, however, to art, literature and criticism instead of politics, was John Addington Symonds (1840-1893) . He was born at Bristol, educated at Harrow and Oxford, and was a Fellow of Magdalen College. Though wealthy, he had inherited consumption, and was obliged to reside at Davos-Platz, in Switzerland, for benefit of the climate. His culture was of the highest order, and to promote it among men was his chief aim. Culture he defined as "the raising of intellectual faculties to their highest potency by means of conscious training." His greatest work, "History of the Renaissance in Italy," in five volumes (1875-86), treats fully of the revival of learning in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries, the flourishing of the fine arts and literature, and the Catholic reaction which followed. The great characters, Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, Michael Angelo, Raphael, are described sympathetically. During his loving labor in this monumental work, many essays, critical and speculative, were prepared. His "Studies of the Greek Poets" are not only valuable contributions to classical scholarship, but are full of freshness and vigor, which commend them to the reader unacquainted with the originals. His interest in the rise of modern literature led to studies of Shakespeare's predecessors, and biographies of Sir Philip Sidney and Ben Jonson. He was also fully awake to the literature of his own time, as is seen in his criticisms of Walt Whitman and Zola, both of whom he regarded as having helped man to understand himself. His essays treat of a variety of other subjects connected with art and literature. His original poems are light, elegant and romantic; his translations are chiefly from his favorite Italians.

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