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George Saintsbury (George Edward Bateman Saintsbury) Biography

(1845–1933), (George Edward Bateman Saintsbury), Scrap-Book, A Primer of French Literature

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British critic, born in Southampton, educated at Merton College, Oxford. The second volume of his Scrap-Book (3 volumes, 19224) contains his recollections of Oxford. After working as a school-teacher in Guernsey, he settled in London in 1876 and began his prolific career as a journalist and author. His first book, A Primer of French Literature (1880), established the historically descriptive mode of much of his writing. His further studies of French literature include A Short History of French Literature (1882) and The History of the French Novel (191719). During the 1880s he wrote numerous books on English literature, among them Dryden (1881) and A History of Elizabethan Literature (1887). He also produced biographies, notably Marlborough (1885), and a new edition of Sir Walter Scott's Works of Dryden (18 volumes, 188293). Appointed in 1895 to the Regius Professorship of English at Edinburgh, he concentrated upon his literary histories, among which are A Short History of English Literature (1898), History of Criticism (19004), and A History of English Prosody (190610). He exercised a wide influence in the emergence of English studies as an academic discipline. He supplied twenty-one chapters for The Cambridge History of English Literature (edited by A. W. Ward and A. R. Waller, 13 volumes, 190716). The best-known of his many other works is Notes on a Cellarbook (1920), an attractively whimsical record of his pleasures as a connoisseur of wines. A biography by A. Blyth Webster was published in 1977.

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