1882 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Howitt

Epes Sargent, in Harper's Cyclopaedia of British and American Poetry (1882) 483.



Howitt (1795-1879), husband of Mary Howitt, was a native of Heanor, in Derbyshire, England. Of Quaker descent, he was educated at a public seminary of Friends. He was a great student of languages, and wrote verses almost from boyhood. He and his wife, after the year 1837, made literature their chief means of support. He was author of The Rural Life of England, Visits to Remarkable Places, and other successful prose works, including translations. He also published a History of the Supernatural. He went, with his two sons, to Australia in 1852, and gave the results of his experiences in several volumes. With his wife and family he resided at times in Germany and Italy. His poetry is scattered mostly through Annuals and magazines; in 1871 he published The Mad War Planet, and other Poems. About the year 1850 he became an active Spiritualist, and wrote copiously in defence of the modern phenomena, which he reconciled with a broad Christianity. He died in Rome, in the eighty-fourth year of his age. He had a brother, Richard, who also wrote poetry.