English Men of Letters

English Men of Letters was a series of literary biographies written by leading literary figures of the day and published by Macmillan, under the general editorship of John Morley. The original series was launched in 1878, with Leslie Stephen's biography of Samuel Johnson, and ran until 1892. A second series, again under the general editorship of Morley, was published between 1902 and 1919.

Although the series title would today be unacceptably chauvanistic, the publisher's intentions were honourable:

These Short Books are addressed to the general public with a view both to stirring and satisfying an interest in literature and its great topics in the minds of those who have to run as they read. An immense class is growing up, and must every year increase, whose education will have made them alive to the importance of the masters of our literature, and capable of intelligent curiosity as to their performances. The Series is intended to give the means of nourishing this curiosity, to an extent that shall be copious enough to be profitable for knowledge and life, and yet be brief enough to serve those whose leisure is scanty.

First Series

  1. Samuel Johnson / Leslie Stephen [1878]
  2. Gibbon / James Cotter Morison [1878]
  3. Sir Walter Scott / Richard H. Hutton [1878]
  4. Shelley / John Addington Symonds [1878]
  5. Hume / Thomas Henry Huxley [1879]
  6. Goldsmith / William Black [1878]
  7. Daniel Defoe / William Minto [1879]
  8. Robert Burns / John Campbell Shairp [1879]
  9. Spenser / R. W. Church [1879]
  10. Thackeray / Anthony Trollope [1879]
  11. Burke / John Morley [1879]
  12. Milton / Mark Pattison [1879]
  13. Nathaniel Hawthorne / Henry James [1879]
  14. Southey / Edward Dowden [1879]
  15. Chaucer / Adolphus William Ward [1879]
  16. Cowper / Goldwin Smith [1880]
  17. Bunyan / James Anthony Froude [1879]
  18. Byron / John Nichol [1880]
  19. Locke / Thomas Fowler [1880]
  20. Alexander Pope / Leslie Stephen [1880]
  21. Charles Lamb / Alfred Ainger [1882]
  22. Quincey / David Masson [1881]
  23. Landor / Sidney Colvin [1881]
  24. Dryden / George Saintsbury [1881]
  25. Wordsworth / F. W. H. Myers [1881]
  26. Bentley / Richard Claverhouse Jebb [1882]
  27. Swift / Leslie Stephen [1882]
  28. Dickens / Adolphus William Ward [1882]
  29. Gray / Edmund Gosse [1882]
  30. Sterne / H. D. Traill [1882]
  31. Macaulay / James Cotter Morison [1882]
  32. Fielding / Austin Dobson [1883]
  33. Sheridan / Mrs. Oliphant [1883]
  34. Addison / W. J. Courthope [1884]
  35. Bacon / R. W. Church [1884]
  36. Coleridge / H. D. Traill [1884]
  37. Sir Philip Sidney / John Addington Symonds [1886]
  38. Keats / Sidney Colvin [1887]
  39. Carlyle / John Nichol [1892]

Second Series

  1. Mrs. Gaskell / Clement Shorter []
  2. Charles Kingsley / G.K. Chesterton []
  3. Ben Jonson / Gregory Smith []
  4. William Morris / Alfred Noyes []
  5. George Eliot / Leslie Stephen []
  6. William Hazlitt / Augustine Birrell []
  7. Matthew Arnold / Herbert Paul []
  8. John Ruskin / Frederic Harrison []
  9. Tennyson / Sir Alfred Lyall []
  10. Samuel Richardson / Austin Dobson []
  11. Browning / G.K. Chesterton []
  12. Crabbe / Alfred Ainger
  13. Fanny Burney / Austin Dobson []
  14. Jeremy Taylor / Edmund Gosse []
  15. Rossetti / Arthur C. Benson []
  16. Maria Edgeworth / Emily Lawless []
  17. Hobbes / Leslie Stephen []
  18. Adam Smith / Francis W. Hirst []
  19. Thomas Moore / Stephen Gwynn []
  20. Sydney Smith / George W. E. Russell []
  21. Edward Fitzgerald / Arthur C. Benson []
  22. Andrew Marvell / Augustine Birrell []
  23. Sir Thomas Browne / Edmund Gosse []
  24. Walter Pater / Arthur C. Benson []
  25. Shakespeare / Walter Raleigh []
  26. James Thomson / G. C. Macaulay []

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  1. Milton. — Gibbon. — Shelley.
  2. Southey. — Byron. — Defoe.
  3. Dryden. — Pope. — Sidney.
  4. Bentley. — Cowper. — Landor.
  5. Burke.Macaulay.Fielding.
  6. Bunyan. — Johnson. — Bacon.
  7. Scott. — Dickens. — Spenser.
  8. Sterne. — Swift. — Hume.
  9. Chaucer. — Lamb. — De Quincey.
  10. Coleridge. — Wordsworth. — Burns.
  11. Locke. — Goldsmith. — Gray.
  12. Thackeray. — Addison. — Sheridan.
  13. Keats. — Hawthorne. — Carlyle.
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