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Henry Crabb Robinson (1775-1867): provincial dissenter, Londoner, European :: James Vigus

  • Camden Local Studies and Archives Centre, Holborn Library 32-38 Theobalds Road London, WC1X 8PA UK (map)

In 1845, Henry Crabb Robinson began to write his Reminiscences, an autobiographical work that was published only selectively after his death. It is now being prepared in a critical edition for the first time, using manuscripts held at Dr Williams's Library, of which Robinson was a trustee. As Robinson re-read and excerpted from his past diaries and travel journals, his Reminiscences became lengthy and substantial. He regarded his own life modestly, regretting the limited education he had received in a dissenting family in Bury St Edmunds. Yet, as a retired London barrister and member of the Athenaeum, he was now famous as an expert on German literature, and for his prominent role in the foundation of the University of London. He could look back on five years in Germany, during which he became the leading British mediator of Kant and theories of aesthetics. He had also been an adventurous journalist: covering the Peninsular War, he was the first correspondent of The Times. For the 150th anniversary of Robinson's death, this talk will retrace some of the most significant aspects of his life and writing, emphasising his development from provincial boyhood to metropolitan life - and beyond, as became one of the most prolific European travellers of his generation. Robinson's home from 1839 until his death in 1867 was in the original house at 30 Russell Square.

Dr James Vigus is Senior Lecturer in English at Queen Mary University of London. He is co-editor of the Henry Crabb Robinson Project:

Price: Free to members. Non-members welcome (£1 at the door).