Austin Dobson, 1840-1921

Portrait

Biographical note

English poet, biographer and essayist.

After 1885 Dobson was engaged mainly in critical and biographical prose, by which he added considerably to the general knowledge of his favourite 18th century. His biographies of Henry Fielding (1883), Thomas Bewick (1884), Richard Steele (1886), Oliver Goldsmith (1888), Horace Walpole (1890) and William Hogarth (1879-1891-1897-1902-1907) are studies marked alike by assiduous research, sympathetic presentation and sound criticism. In Four Frenchwomen (1890), in the three series of Eighteenth-Century Vignettes (1892-1894-1896), and in The Paladin of Philanthropy (1899), which contain unquestionably his most delicate prose work, the accurate detail of each study is relieved by a charm of expression which could only be attained by a poet.

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