Besant, Sir Walter

Besant, Sir Walter

▪ British author
born August 14, 1836, Portsmouth, Hampshire, England
died June 9, 1901, London
 English novelist and philanthropist, whose best work describing social evils in London's East End helped set in motion movements to aid the poor.

      From 1861 to 1867 Besant taught at the Royal College, Mauritius, and in 1868 he became secretary to the Palestine Exploration Fund. In 1871 he began a literary collaboration with James Rice, editor of Once a Week, which lasted until Rice's death (1882). During that time they produced 14 romantic, improbable, and verbose novels.

      In 1882 Besant published his first independent novel, entitled All Sorts and Conditions of Men and based on his impressions of the East London slums, which he saw as joyless rather than vicious places. The “Palace of Delights” that he projected in his book became a reality when the People's Palace was founded (1887) in Mile End Road, London, in an attempt to provide education and recreation to the slum dwellers of the area; Besant cooperated in its establishment. His book Children of Gibeon (1886) also described slum life.

      Besant wrote 32 novels in the 19 years after Rice's death, including Dorothy Forster (1884) and Armorel of Lyonesse (1890). His biographies include Rabelais (1879), and he also wrote a long series of historical and topographical studies (1902–12) of London. He helped to found the Society of Authors in 1884 and edited its journal until his death. Besant was knighted in 1895.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Besant, Sir Walter — (1836 1901)    Born in Portsmouth and educated at King s College London and Christ s College, Cambridge, Besant is better known for his novels and philanthropy than for his poetry. Much of his boyhood is described by him in his novel By Celia s… …   British and Irish poets

  • BESANT, SIR WALTER —    a man of letters, born at Portsmouth; eminent chiefly as a novelist of a healthily realistic type; wrote a number of novels jointly with James Rice, and is the author of French Humourists, as well as short stories; champion of the cause of… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Besant, Sir Walter — (1836 1901)    Novelist and historian of London, b. at Portsmouth and ed. at King s Coll., London, and Camb., was for a few years a professor at Mauritius, but a breakdown in health compelled him to resign, and he returned to England and took the …   Short biographical dictionary of English literature

  • Walter Besant — né le 14 août 1836 à Portsmouth et mort le 9 juin 1901 à Londres était un écrivain anglais. Il était aussi le beau frère d Annie Besant. So …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Walter Besant — Sir Walter Besant (* 14. August 1836 in Portsmouth, England; † 9. Juni 1901 in Hamstead/London, England) war ein englischer Sozialreformer und Schriftsteller, der vor allem auf das städtische Massenelend aufmerksam machte. Neben Essays und… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Walter Besant — (14 de agosto de 1836, Portsmouth 9 de junio de 1901, Londres) novelista e historiador británico. Hijo de un comerciante nació en Portsmouth, Hampshire y se educó en el King s College de Londres y en Cambridge …   Wikipedia Español

  • Besant — (spr. bĕsännt), Sir Walter, engl. Schriftsteller, geb. 14. Ang. 1836 in Portsmouth, gest. 9. Juni 1901 in London, studierte seit 1859 in Cambridge zuerst Theologie, war dann 6 Jahre Professor am Collège Royal auf Mauritius und widmete sich bald… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Besant — (bĕsännt), Sir Walter, engl. Schriftsteller, geb. 14. Aug. 1836 zu Portsmouth, gest. 9. Juni 1901 in Heath bei Hampstead; veröffentlichte mit J. Rice (1872 82) »Besant Rice novels«, dann allein zahlreiche Romane (»The children of Gibeon«, 1886),… …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Walter Besant — BiographyThe son of a merchant, he was born at Portsmouth, Hampshire and attended school at St Paul s, Southsea, Stockwell Grammar, London and King s College London.In 1855, he was admitted as a pensioner to Christ s College, Cambridge, where he… …   Wikipedia

  • Besant — /bez euhnt/ for 1; /beuh zant /, older /bez euhnt/ for 2, n. 1. Annie (Wood), 1847 1933, English theosophist. 2. Sir Walter, 1836 1901, English novelist. * * * …   Universalium

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