1902 Encyclopedia > Robert Bell

Robert Bell
Irish journalist and editor

ROBERT BELL, editor of the Annotated Edition of the Bell British Poets, was an Irishman by birth and education, but a Londoner by a long residence of nearly forty years. He was born at Cork in 1800, and was educated at Trinity College, Dublin. With the tasks of a subordinate in a Government office at Dublin he combined literary pursuits, editing a political journal and contributing to periodicals. In 1828 he settled in London, and literature was thence-forward the business of his life. As journalist he edited the Atlas for several years; and afterwards the Monthly Chronicle, Mirror, and Home News. Of his early under-takings the more important were the volumes which he compiled for Lardner's Cabinet Cyclopaedia, including the Lives of British Admirals, in continuation of Southey's work; Lives of British Poets ; a History of Russia ; and the continuation of Sir James Mackintosh's History of England. He made himself favourably known as a novelist by The Ladder of Gold and Hearts and Altars. Among his other works are a Life of Canning, Wayside Pictures in France, Belgium, and Germany, three five-act comedies, and a volume entitled Memorials of the Civil War, based on the Fairfax Correspondence. He earned a higher place and a more enduring reputation by his Annotated Edition of the British Poets, of which the first volume appeared in 1854. The series was carried through twenty-nine volumes. The works of each poet are prefaced by a carefully-prepared memoir, and accompanied by explanatory and illustrative notes, of a really helpful and often indispensable kind. In his earlier years Bell had taken a leading part in found-ing the Dublin Historical Society. In the course of his London life he became an active director of the Royal Literary Fund. He was also chosen F.S.A In private life he was highly esteemed and warmly loved for his open-heartedness, his genial temper, and his generous readiness to give aid to fellow-workers who might be in need. He died in London, at the age of sixty-seven, April 12, 1867.

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