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John Gibson Lockhart

Lockhart, John Gibson (1794–1854). Novelist and biographer, son of a minister of the Church of Scotland of good family, was born at Cambusnethan, Lanarkshire, and ed. at Glasgow and Oxford He studied law at Edinburgh, and was called to the Scottish Bar in 1816, but had little taste for the profession. Having, however, already tried literature (he had translated Schlegel’s Lectures on the History of Literature), he devoted himself more and more to a literary life. He joined John Wilson, and became one of the leading contributors to Blackwood’s Magazine. After bringing out Peter’s Letters to his Kinsfolk (1819), sketches mainly of Edinburgh society, he produced four novels, Valerius (1821), Adam Blair (1822), Reginald Dalton (1824), and Matthew Wald (1824). His Life of Burns appeared in 1828. He was ed. of the Quarterly Review 1824–53. In 1820 he had married Sophia, daughter of Sir Walter Scott, which led to a close friendship with the latter, and to his writing his famous Life of Scott, undoubtedly one of the greatest biographies in the language. His later years were overshadowed with deep depression caused by the death of his wife and children. A singularly reserved and cold manner led to his being regarded with dislike by many, but his intimate friends were warmly attached to him.

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