Richard Garnett (writer)

Richard Garnett C.B. [1] (27 February 1835 – 13 April 1906) was a scholar, librarian, biographer and poet. He was son of Richard Garnett , an author, philologist (historical linguist) and assistant keeper of printed books in the British Museum , ie what is now the British Library .


Born at Lichfield in England, and educated at a school in Bloomsbury , he entered the British Museum in 1851 as an assistant librarian. In 1875, he became superintendent of the Reading Room, in 1881, editor of the General Catalog of Printed Books, and in 1890 until his retirement in 1899, Keeper of Printed Books.

His literary works include numerous translations from the Greek , German , Italian , Spanish , and Portuguese ; Several books of verse; The book of short stories The Twilight of the Gods (1888, 16 stories, 12 stories added in the 1903 edition); [2] biographies of Thomas Carlyle , John Milton , William Blake , and others; The Age of Dryden (1895); A History of Italian Literature ; English Literature: An Illustrated Record (with Edmund Gosse ); And many articles for encyclopaedias and the Dictionary of National Biography. He also discovered and edited some unpublished poems of Shelley ( Relics of Shelley , 1862) and edited the republication of the newly discovered Poetry collection by Victor and Cazire in 1898. His poem ” Where Corals Lie ” was set to music by Sir Edward Elgar as part of Sea Pictures and was first performed in 1899. Long interested in astrology, in 1880 he published a monograph on the subject, “The Soul and the Stars”, in the University Magazine under the pseudonym “AG Trent”; Ill health prevented him from writing more on the subject.

According to Joseph McCabe , Garnett “cherished a genuine and somewhat mystical belief in religion, which combined hostility to priestcraft and dogma with a modified belief in astrology .” [4]

The writer, critic and editor Edward Garnett was his son, translator Constance Garnett was his daughter-in-law, and the Bloomsbury Group writer David (Bunny) Garnett was his grandson.


  1. Jump up^ “New Year Honors”. The Times (Tuesday, January 1, 1895, Issue 34462). London. 1895, p. 4; Col A.
  2. Jump up^ Stableford, Brian (1996). “Garnett, Richard.” In Pringle, David . St. James Guide To Fantasy Writers . St. James Press. pp. 222-3.
  3. Jump up^  This article incorporates text from a publication in thepublic domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). ” Garnett, Richard “. Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  4. Jump up^ McCabe, Joseph (1920). A Biographical Dictionary of Modern Rationalists . London: Watts & Co. p. 280.

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