Anniversary of Lowth’s death

Coming Friday, 3 November, is the anniversary of Robert Lowth’s death in 1787. To commemorate this, we transcribed the obituray as it appeared in The Annual Register … for the year 1787 (London, 1789). Download file

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  1. Anthony Lowth

    It is interesting to note that media misinformation is not a new phenomenon, but has been alive and well for many years. There are a significant number of factual errors in this account of Robert Lowth’s life, despite the fact that it was written within a year of his death. Here are some that I have spotted :-

    o His father’s parish was Buriton, not Boniton.
    o Charles Lowth of Paternoster Row was almost certainly not his brother.
    o He was born in 1710, not 1711
    o He went abroad with the Duke of Devonshire’s younger sons, not the Duke himself.
    o The Bishopric in Ireland that he was offered was Limerick, not Kilmore
    o He was made Bishop of St.Davids, and then Oxford in 1766, not 1776
    o He was Professor of Poetry at Oxford from 1742-50, not from 1738-48
    o His Lectures on Hebrew Poetry were first published in 1753, not 1763.
    o And finally, he had five daughters, not two as implied in the account, and only one of them outlived Robert Lowth.

    Clearly this obituary was not checked at the time for factual accuracy. It would be very interesting to know who wrote it, in order to be able to gauge how much credence one can give to the more personal, less biographical descriptions of Robert Lowth.

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