Gosse, Edmund

From Astro-Databank
Jump to: navigation, search
Gosse, Edmund Gender: M
Edmund William Gosse
born on 21 September 1849 at 12:00 (= 12:00 noon )
Place Tottenham, England, 51n35, 0w04
Timezone GMT h0e (is standard time)
Data source
Quoted BC/BR
Rodden Rating AA
Collector: Scholfield
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_vircol.18.gif 28°22' s_mo.18.gif s_scocol.18.gif 25°40 Asc.s_sagcol.18.gif 03°29'

Edmund Gosse


English poet, author, translator, librarian and critic.

Gosse started his career as assistant librarian at the British Museum from 1867. An early book of poetry published with a friend John Arthur Blaikie gave him an introduction to the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Trips to Denmark and Norway in 1872–74, where he visited Hans Christian Andersen, led to publishing success with reviews of Scandinavian literature in a variety of publications. He became acquainted with Alfred, Lord Tennyson and friends with Robert Browning, Algernon Charles Swinburne, Thomas Hardy and Henry James.

He published his first solo volume of poetry, On Viol and Flute, in 1873 and a work of criticism, Studies in the Literature of Northern Europe, in 1879. Gosse and Robert Louis Stevenson first met while teenagers, and after 1879, when Stevenson came to London on occasion, he would stay with Gosse and his family.

From 1884 to 1890, Gosse lectured in English literature at Trinity College, Cambridge. He became, in the 1880s, one of the most important art critics dealing with sculpture (writing mainly for the Saturday Review) with an interest spurred on by his intimate friendship with the sculptor Hamo Thornycroft. Gosse would eventually write the first history of the renaissance of late-Victorian sculpture in 1894 in a four-part series for the Art Journal, dubbing the movement the New Sculpture.

In 1904, he became the librarian of the House of Lords Library, where he exercised considerable influence till he retired in 1914.

He can take credit for introducing Henrik Ibsen's work to the British public. Gosse and William Archer collaborated in translating Hedda Gabler and The Master Builder; those two translations were performed throughout the 20th century. Gosse and Archer, along with George Bernard Shaw, were perhaps the literary critics most responsible for popularising Ibsen's plays among English-speaking audiences.

His most famous book is the autobiographical Father and Son (1907), about his troubled relationship with his Plymouth Brethren father, Philip, which was dramatised for television by Dennis Potter. In later life, he became a formative influence on Siegfried Sassoon.

In August 1875, Gosse married Ellen Epps (1850–1929), a young painter in the Pre-Raphaelite circle. Theirs was a happy marriage lasting more than 50 years and they had three children. However, Gosse was actually homosexual. It was said that during Browning's funeral at Westminster Abbey, Gosse sat in a pew flicking through pictures of male nudes. Only after fifteen years of friendship, in 1890, did Gosse acknowledge to John Addington Symonds, around the time the latter was working on A Problem in Greek Ethics, that indeed he was homosexual.

Gosse was knighted in 1925. He died on 16 May 1928.

Link to Wikipedia biography



Source Notes

Sy Scholfield quotes Gosse's father's letter in Ann Thwaite's book, "Edmund Gosse: A Literary Landscape, 1849-1928" (Secker & Warburg, 1984), pp. 16-17: "a fine boy [born] today at noon."


  • Passions : Sexuality : Gay
  • Vocation : Writers : Poet
  • Vocation : Writers : Translator