Studies of a Biographer
Sir Leslie Stephen (1832-1904) was founding Editor of the Dictionary of National Biography (DNB). Also a writer on philosophy, ethics, and literature, he was educated at Eton, King's College, London, and Trinity Hall, Cambridge, where he remained as a Fellow and a tutor for a number of years. Though a sickly child, he later became a keen and successful mountaineer, taking part in first ascents of nine peaks in the Alps. These biographical essays and critiques were written originally for the National Review and published as two two-volume sets in 1898 and 1902. These vignettes show that, despite the years of preparing material for the DNB to its particular editorial requirements, Stephen was still a master of the finely crafted depiction of the essence of his chosen subjects. Volume 3 includes essays on Donne, John Ruskin, the Brownings' letters and, in complete contrast, a chapter considering the pleasures of walking.