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Thomas Hamilton (1789-1842) - Novelist

He was born in Glasgow, Scotland, the son of the Professor of Anatomy at the University, where he himself was educated. His brother was the philosopher and historian Sir William Hamilton. After leaving university, Hamilton joined the army, rising to the rank of captain, but he retired to live in Edinburgh when he was 29. There he became associated with the group of writers contributing to the newly founded Blackwood's Magazine and he became a close friend of its editors John Wilsonand John Gibson Lockhart. For Blackwood's Hamilton wrote chiefly on military matters and his lucid account of the Peninsular Wars was published in 1829 in Annals of the Peninsular Campaign; he also wrote Men and Manners in America (1833). Although his dry, thoughtful prose style was suited to his interests in military and political matters, he could also turn his hand to fiction. His one, largely autobiographical, novel, The Youth and Manhood of Cyril Thornton (1827), is a shrewdly observed account of life and manners in Glasgow at the turn of the century and is particularly memorable for Hamilton's ability to recreate the under-graduate atmosphere of the city's university. Hamilton died on 7th December 1842.

Works: The Youth and Manhood of Cyril Thornton (1827); Annals of the Peninsular Campaign (1829); Men and Manners in America (1833).

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