Gosse, Sir Edmund William

Gosse, Sir Edmund William gŏs [key], 1849–1928, English biographer and critic. He was lecturer in English literature at Trinity College, Cambridge (1884–90) and librarian of the House of Lords (1904–14). Although he wrote with enthusiasm and wit, his scholarship was often inaccurate and thus much of his critical work has been superseded. He did, however, introduce English readers to Ibsen and other Scandinavian writers as well as to some modern French writers and painters. Among the many biographies he wrote were those of Gray (1882), Donne (1899), Sir Thomas Browne (1905), Ibsen (1907), Swinburne (1917), and Congreve (rev. ed. 1924). Father and Son (1907), his best work, describes his relationship with his father, Philip Henry Gosse (1810–88), an English naturalist and author of zoological works, whose biography Edmund had written (1890). Included among Edmund's several volumes of verse are On Viol and Flute (1873) and New Poems (1879). He was knighted in 1925.

See his essays on Scandinavian poetry and Studies in the Literature of Northern Europe (1879); his correspondence with A. Gide, 1904–28 (ed. by L. F. Brugmans, 1959); his diary, ed. by R. L. Peters and D. G. Halliburton (1966); biography by J. D. Woolf (1972).

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