Arthur Woollgar Verrall

Arthur Woollgar Verrall

Birth
Brighton, Brighton and Hove Unitary Authority, East Sussex, England
Death 18 Jun 1912 (aged 61)
Cambridge, City of Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England
Burial Cambridge, City of Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England
Plot 2B33
Memorial ID 34839423 · View Source
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Classicist, and first Professor of English Literature. The son of a Brighton solicitor, Verrall, having distinguished himself in the Classical Tropos when a student at Trinity College, was quickly elected to a Fellowship, but left for London to train for the bar. He returned to Trinity in 1877 and for thirty-four years lectured in classics. He was a spellbinding performer, this at the time of Victorian oratory. Among his students was Francis Cornford, a better known figure in classical scholarship, whose wife, the poet Frances is buried close by. Verrall published a stream of editions and studies of Greek and Roman poets and dramatists, Horace, Martial, Propertius, Aeschylus, Euripedes. He argued fiercely that Euripedes was an atheist, and that the apparent adoption of belief in the gods masked an ironic debunking of them. That a classicist should be appointed as first holder of the King Edward VII Chair of English Literature, and that he should on appointment be visibly in rapidly declining health, seem strange, but it was a popular appointment, and the subject of English Literature did not then exist as a university discipline. Lord Rothermere funded the chair, and the aim was for the subject to be treated along 'literary and critical rather than on philological and linguistic lines.' Verrall had striven to teach the classics as living literature. Suffering from advanced arthritis, he was carried to the lecture hall, and he now turned to lecture on the novels of Walter Scott, Victorian poetry, and the poems of Dryden. He held the chair for just a few months. His successor was Arthur Quiller Couch, 'Q' as he was known.

He was a member of The Cambridge Apostles secret society, which he joined in 1871; 10 members of whom are buried in 'Ascension'.

Verrall died at his home, 5 Selwyn Gardens, Cambridge, on Waterloo day, or as he himself called it, ‘Wellington College day', 18 June 1912, after a long illness.

ERRALL, ARTHUR WOOLLGAR.
Adm. pens. at TRINITY, Oct. 7, 1869. [Eldest] s. of Henry [solicitor], of 26, Gloucester Place, Brighton (and Anne Webb Woollgar). B. there Feb. 5, 1851.
School, Wellington College.
Matric. Michs. 1869; Scholar, 1870; Pitt Scholar, 1872; B.A. (2nd Classic and Chancellor's Classical medal) 1873; Whewell Scholar, 1875; M.A. 1876; Litt.D. 1888.
Fellow, 1874-1912.
College Lecturer, 1877-1911; Tutor, 1889-99.
President of the Union, 1873.
Adm. at Lincoln's Inn, May 5, 1873.
Called to the Bar, May 10, 1876.
Equity draftsman and conveyancer.
On the South-Eastern Circuit.
Clark Lecturer in English Literature, 1909-10.
First King Edward VII Professor of English Literature, 1911-12. 'A lecture by him was definitely a performance prepared, down to small details, with an orator's sense of effect.' President of the Philological Society, 1896-7. President of the Classical Society, 1907.
Married, June 17, 1882, Margaret de G., dau. of Frederic Merrifield, Barrister, of Brighton, and had issue, one daughter.
Hon. Litt.D. (Dublin). Author, numerous editions of classical works, including the Medea; Seven Against Thebes; Agamemnon; Studies Literary and Historical in the Odes of Horace, etc.
Died June 18, 1912, at his residence, 5, Selwyn Gardens, Cambridge.
(Inns of Court; Law Lists; Foster, Men at the Bar; D.N.B.; Who was Who; Sir J. J. Thomson, Recollections and Reflections, 320.)

They had two daughters, one of whom died in infancy: Phoebe Margaret De Gaudrion b. 1888, d. Selwyn Gardens, Cambridge 7 Oct 1890; the other was Helen, later Salter, born in 1883.



Inscription

'MAN HAS FOREVER'


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  • Created by: julia&keld
  • Added: 15 Mar 2009
  • Find A Grave Memorial 34839423
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Arthur Woollgar Verrall (5 Feb 1851–18 Jun 1912), Find A Grave Memorial no. 34839423, citing Ascension Parish Burial Ground, Cambridge, City of Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England ; Maintained by julia&keld (contributor 46812479) .