John Addington Symonds

John Addington Symonds

Birth
Bristol, Bristol Unitary Authority, Bristol, England
Death 19 Apr 1893 (aged 52)
Rome, Città Metropolitana di Roma Capitale, Lazio, Italy
Burial Rome, Città Metropolitana di Roma Capitale, Lazio, Italy
Memorial ID 7412 · View Source
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Author. Born to a physician, he began his education at Harrow, and continued at Clifton Hill House and Oxford University. In 1860, he won the Newdigate prize with his poem "The Escorial." Three years later, he was awarded the Chancellor's English Essay prize. He married Janet Catherine North in 1864 and had four daughters. Their youngest daughter Katherine had an illustrious career in the British Red Cross and became the first Director of the World Association of Girl Guides and Scouts. Attempting a law career, his health issues halted those plans. Returning to Clifton to lecture, he published "Introduction to the Study of Dante" and "Studies of the Greek Poets." Considered his seminal work, "Renaissance in Italy," was published over seven volumes between 1875 and 1886. In these volumes, he would also address the subject of homoeroticism during the Renaissance. This theme would reoccur in many of his works. His "A Problem in Greek Ethics," was one of the first studies of ancient Greek sexuality. In "A Problem in Modern Ethics" Symonds is given credit for introducing the word "homosexual" into the English language for the first time. Poems, especially "Eudiades" and "The Song of the Swimmer," continued to explore this genre. Well aware of Victorian sensibilities, Symonds never openly addressed his bi-sexuality and many of his writings were circulated privately. Serious health problems resurfaced, possibly tuberculosis, necessitating relocation to Davos Platz in 1877 with this family. Life there would be mirrored in the publication "Our Life in the Swiss Highlands." His writing grew prolific during this time. He wrote biographies of Shelley, Sir Philip Sidney, Ben Johnson and Michelangelo, poetry, essays and translated Cellini's autobiography. He enjoyed time in Italy and often spent autumns with a historian, Horatio F. Brown. Brown was appointed as Symonds' literary executor and received all his private papers upon his death. Brown prepared Symonds' autobiography for publication, but removed all references to Symonds' sexuality. In 1926, when his work passed to Edmund Gosse, Gosse burned all papers except for the memoirs. Symonds two final works, "In the Key of Blue" and a monograph on Walt Whitman were published after his death. In 2007, his first work on homosexuality "Soldier Love and Related Matter" was published, limited to a German edition. In January of 2019, the John Addington Symonds Project was launched by the Johns Hopkins University Classics Research Lab to study both his life and writings. He was buried near the grave of Percy Shelley.

Bio by: Winter Birds PA


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 1 Dec 1999
  • Find a Grave Memorial 7412
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for John Addington Symonds (5 Oct 1840–19 Apr 1893), Find a Grave Memorial no. 7412, citing Campo Cestio, Rome, Città Metropolitana di Roma Capitale, Lazio, Italy ; Maintained by Find A Grave .