Edward Dowden

Edward Dowden (May 3, 1843April 4, 1913), was an Irish critic and poet.

He was the son of John Wheeler Dowden, a merchant and landowner, and was born at Cork, three years after his brother John, who became Bishop of Edinburgh in 1886. Edward's literary tastes emerged early, in a series of essays written at the age of twelve. His home education continued at Queen's College, Cork and at Trinity College, Dublin; at the latter he had a distinguished career, becoming president of the Philosophical Society, and winning the vice-chancellor's prize for English verse and prose, and the first senior moderatorship in ethics and logic. In 1867 he was elected professor of oratory and English literature in Dublin University.

Dowden's first book, "Shakespeare, his Mind and Art" (1875), resulted from a revision of a course of lectures, and made him widely known as a critic: translations appeared in German and Russian; his "Poems" (1876) went into a second edition. His "Shakespeare Primer" (1877) was translated into Italian and German. In 1878 the Royal Irish Academy awarded him the Cunningham gold medal "for his literary writings, especially in the field of Shakespearian criticism."

Later works by him in this field included: "Shakespeare's Sonnets" (1881), "Passionate Pilgrim" (1883), "Introduction to Shakespeare" (1893), "Hamlet" (1899), "Romeo and Juliet" (1900), "Cymbeline" (1903), and his article (in the "National Review", July 1902) on "Shakespeare as a Man of Science", criticizing T.E. Webb's "Mystery of William Shakespeare". His critical essays "Studies in Literature" (1878), "Transcripts and Studies" (1888), "New Studies in Literature" (1895) showed a profound knowledge of the currents and tendencies of thought in various ages and countries; but his "Life of Shelley" (1886) made him best known to the public at large. In 1900 he edited an edition of Shelley's works.

Other books by him which indicate his interests in literature include: Robert Southey (in the "English Men of Letters" series, 1880), his edition of "Southey's Correspondence with Caroline Bowles" (1881), and "Select Poems of Southey" (1895), his Correspondence of Sir Henry Taylor (1888), his edition of Wordsworth's "Poetical Works" (1892) and of his "Lyrical Ballads" (1890), his "French Revolution and English Literature" (1897; lectures given at Princeton University in 1896), "History of French Literature" (1897), "Puritan and Anglican" (1900), "Robert Browning" (1904) and "Michel de Montaigne" (1905). His devotion to Goethe led to his succeeding Max Muller in 1888 as president of the English Goethe Society.

In 1889 he became the first Taylorian lecturer at the University of Oxford, and from 1892 to 1896 served as Clark lecturer at Trinity College, Cambridge. To his research are due, among other matters of literary interest, the first account of Thomas Carlyle's "Lectures on periods of European culture"; the identification of Shelley as the author of a review (in "The Critical Review" of December 1814) of a lost romance by James Hogg; a description of Shelley's "Philosophical View of Reform"; a manuscript diary of Fabre d'Églantine; and a record by Dr Wilhelm Weissenborn of Goethe's last days and death. He also discovered a "Narrative of a Prisoner of War under Napoleon" (published in "Blackwood's Magazine"), an unknown pamphlet by Bishop Berkeley, some unpublished writings of William Hayley relating to Cowper, and a unique copy of the "Tales of Terror".

His wide interests and scholarly methods made his influence on criticism both sound and stimulating, and his own ideals are well described in his essay on "The Interpretation of Literature" in his "Transcripts and Studies". As commissioner of education in Ireland (1896–1901), trustee of the National Library of Ireland, secretary of the Irish Liberal Union and vice-president of the Irish Unionist Alliance, he enforced his view that literature should not be divorced from practical life.

Dowden married twice, first (1866) Mary Clerke, and secondly (1895) Elizabeth Dickinson West, daughter of the dean of St Patrick's.

External links




Suggested Reading:

William M. Murphy. "Prodigal Father: the Life of John Butler Yeats (1839–1922)" (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1978; paperback edition, 1979; revised paperback edition, Syracuse University Press, 2001.)

William M. Murphy, 'Yeats, Quinn, and Edward Dowden,' in "John Quinn: Selected Irish Writers from His Library," ed. Janis and Richard Londraville (Locust Hill Press, 2001).

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  • Dowden — ist der Familienname von: Abraham Rinkle Dowden (1839 1907), US amerikanischer Politiker Bradley Dowden, US amerikanischer Philosoph Corey Dowden, ehemaliger US amerikanischer Footballprofi Edward Dowden (1843 1913), irischer Poet und Kritiker… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Dowden, Edward — (1843 1913)    Born in Cork, the son of an Irish merchant and landowner, he was educated at Queen s College, Cork, and Trinity College, Dublin, from where he graduated in 1863. He was appointed professor of English literature at Trinity in 1867 a …   British and Irish poets

  • Edward of Aberdeen — Edward [Ēadweard, Eadward, Édouard, Étbard] was a 12th century prelate based in Scotland. He occurs in the records for the first time as Bishop of Aberdeen in a document datable to some point between 1147 and 1151. His immediate predecessor, as… …   Wikipedia

  • Dowden — (spr. dauden), Edward, engl. Dichter und Literarhistoriker, geb. 3. Mai 1843 in Cork, studierte am Trinity College in Dublin und erhielt an demselben mit 24 Jahren die Professur der englischen Literatur, die er noch jetzt bekleidet. Von seinen… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Dowden — [dou′dən] Edward 1843 1913; Ir. critic, biographer, & Shakespearean scholar …   English World dictionary

  • Dowden, Edward — ▪ Irish critic born May 3, 1843, Cork, County Cork, Ire. died April 4, 1913, Dublin  Irish critic, biographer, and poet, noted for his critical work on Shakespeare (Shakespeare, William).       Educated at Queen s College, Cork, and Trinity… …   Universalium

  • Dowden — biographical name Edward 1843 1913 Irish literary critic …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Dowden — /dowd n/, n. Edward, 1843 1913, Irish critic and poet. * * * …   Universalium

  • Dowden — Dow•den [[t]ˈdaʊd n[/t]] n. big Edward, 1843–1913, Irish critic and poet …   From formal English to slang

  • Dowden — /ˈdaʊdn/ (say dowdn) noun Edward, 1843–1913, Irish critic and poet …   Australian English dictionary

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