Saintsbury, George

▪ British critic and historian
in full  George Edward Bateman Saintsbury 
born October 23, 1845, Southampton, Hampshire, England
died January 28, 1933, Bath, Somerset

      the most influential English literary historian and critic of the early 20th century. His lively style and wide knowledge helped make his works both popular and authoritative.

      Disappointed at not getting a fellowship at Merton College, Oxford (M.A., 1868), Saintsbury spent almost a decade as a schoolmaster, at the same time beginning a lifelong study of French literature and writing reviews for the Academy. The appearance of his essay on Baudelaire in the Fortnightly Review in 1875 caught the attention of the literary world. When a school at which he was teaching failed in 1876, he decided to write for a living. He contributed 35 biographies and the article on French literature for the Encyclopædia Britannica (9th ed., 1875–89). He was an unorthodox critic of French literature, but his Primer of French Literature (1880), A Short History of French Literature (1882), and Specimens of French Literature from Villon to Hugo (1883) all had great success. In 1881 his study of Dryden (“English Men of Letters Series”) was the first of his extensive writings on English literature. Specimens of English Prose Style from Malory to Macaulay (1885) and A History of Elizabethan Literature (1887) followed.

      In 1895 Saintsbury was appointed to the Regius chair of rhetoric and English literature at the University of Edinburgh. He continued his writing while at Edinburgh, producing, among other works, A Short History of English Literature (1898) and A History of Criticism and Literary Taste in Europe from the Earliest Texts to the Present Day, 3 vol. (1900–04), one of the first surveys of critical literary theory and practice from ancient Greek to modern times. He also wrote A History of English Prosody from the Twelfth Century to the Present Day, 3 vol. (1906–10); the supplementary Historical Manual of English Prosody (1910); and the complementary History of English Prose Rhythm (1912). He retired from his professorship in 1915.

      Saintsbury continued his writing with The Peace of the Augustans: A Survey of Eighteenth Century Literature as a Place of Rest and Refreshment (1916) and a book on wine, Notes on a Cellar-Book (1920), which led to the foundation of the Saintsbury Club. Saintsbury's Minor Poets of the Caroline Period, 3 vol. (1921), helped revive interest in 17th-century poetry, as did his editions of Dryden and Shadwell for Restoration drama.

      Saintsbury was the foremost practitioner of the so-called conversational school of criticism; he analyzed the style of literary works and the development of literary forms in an informal, lively, and readable prose designed as much to stimulate and entertain as to inform. Saintsbury deliberately formulated no philosophy of criticism; however, certain principles underlie his writing: extensive reading, intuitive appreciation, comparative assessment, and ranking. Though a more rigorous approach has replaced his copious, wide-ranging writing, he opened the way to a broad view of Western literature and, by his diverse enthusiasms, emphasized enjoyment as literature's primary aim.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • SAINTSBURY, GEORGE —    literary critic, born at Southampton; graduated at Merton College, Oxford; was engaged in scholastic work for a number of years at Manchester, Guernsey, and Elgin; in 1876 settled in London, and made a reputation for vigorous and scholarly… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Saintsbury, George (Edward Bateman) — born Oct. 23, 1845, Southampton, Hampshire, Eng. died Jan. 28, 1933, Bath, Somerset English literary historian and critic. When the school at which he was teaching failed in 1876, he decided to write for a living. He produced several successful… …   Universalium

  • Saintsbury, George (Edward Bateman) — (23 oct. 1845, Southampton, Hampshire, Inglaterra–28 ene. 1933, Bath, Somerset). Historiador y crítico literario inglés. Cuando quebró el colegio donde enseñaba en 1876, decidió ganarse la vida como escritor. Publicó varios volúmenes de crítica… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Saintsbury, George Edward Bateman —    LL.D., D.Litt., etc. (b. 1845)    Critic and biographer. Short History of French Literature, etc. (1882), Essays in English Literature (1890), Nineteenth Century Literature (1896), A History of Criticism (1900 4), History of English Prosody,… …   Short biographical dictionary of English literature

  • George — George, David Lloyd George, Henry George, Pierre George, Stefan * * * (as used in expressions) Aberdeen, George Hamilton Gordon, 4 conde de George William Russell Akerlof, George A. Alexander, Harold (Rupert Leofric George) Alexander, 1 conde… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • George — /jawrj/, n. 1. a figure of St. George killing the dragon, esp. one forming part of the insignia of the Order of the Garter. 2. Brit. Slang. any coin bearing the image of St. George. 3. a word formerly used in communications to represent the… …   Universalium

  • George Saintsbury — George Edward Bateman Saintsbury (October 23, 1845 January 28, 1933), was an English writer and critic.BiographyBorn in Southampton, he was educated at King s College School, London, and at Merton College, Oxford (B.A., 1868), and spent six years …   Wikipedia

  • George Saintsbury — (um 1910) George Edward Bateman Saintsbury (* 23. Oktober 1845 in Southampton; † 28. Januar 1933) war ein britischer Literaturkritiker und Gelehrter …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Saintsbury — (spr. ßēntsböri), George, engl. Literarhistoriker, geb. 23. Okt. 1845 in Southampton, studierte in Oxford und war mehrere Jahre als Lehrer der klassischen Sprachen tätig und ist seit 1895 Professor der englischen Literatur an der Universität… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Saintsbury — (spr. ßehntsbörrĭ), George, engl. Literarhistoriker, geb. 23. Okt. 1845 in Southampton, seit 1895 Prof. in Edinburgh; schrieb: »Short history of French literature« (1882), »Nineteenth century literature« (1896), »Sir Walter Scott« (1897), »Short… …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

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