The son of a cordwainer, Henry Kett studied at the Norwich grammar school and at Trinity College Oxford (B.A. 1780), M.A. 1783, B.D. 1793, Fellow 1784-1824). He visited France in 1789 to witness the outbreak of the French Revolution, and was Bampton Lecturer in 1790. Kett competed unsuccessfully against James Hurdis for the Poetry Professorship in 1793, though his textbooks and other writings were once highly regarded. He gave up his fellowship of forty years to marry in December 1823, only to die by suicide a few months later.
Representation of the conduct and opinions of the primitive Christians. 1790.
Sermons preached before the University of Oxford, at St. Mary's, in the year MDCCXC. 1791.
Juvenile poems. 1793.
History the interpreter of prophecy, or, A view of Scriptural prophecies and their accomplishment. 1801.
A dissertation on language in general, more particularly on the beauties and defects of the English language ... with ... a short account of the earliest poets. 1799.
Elements of general knowledge ... Designed chiefly for the junior students in the universities. 2 vols, 1802.
Logic made easy, or a short view of Aristotle's method of reasoning. 1809.
Select beauties of ancient English poetry [Henry Headley, with a memoir by Kett]. 2 vols, 1810.
Emily: a moral tale including letters from a father to his daughter. 1811.
The beauties of Christianity [Chateaubriand, ed. Kett.] 3 vols, 1813.
The flowers of wit, or a choice collection of bon mots, both ancient and modern. 2 vols, 1814.