Record

Ref NoDM375
TitleAdditional papers of the Symonds family, c1859-1963
DescriptionA scrapbook, loose photographs and drawings.

John Addington Symonds was born on 5 October 1840 to John Addington Symonds and Harriet Symonds and was their only surviving son. He spent his early life in Bristol before being sent to school at Harrow (1854) and then university at Balliol College, Oxford (1858), where he became a disciple of Benjamin Jowett. Always frail, after a protracted period of academic work Symonds broke down and was sent to convalesce in Switzerland and Italy (1863-1864). In 1864, Symonds married Janet Catherine North, with whom he had four daughters - Janet, Katharine, Charlotte (Lotta) and Margaret (Madge). He settled in London and took up the study of law, but gave it up in the face of illness and toured Normandy, Corsica and Italy for most of the next few years. In 1868 he settled in Clifton, Bristol, and devoted himself to a literary life. In 1877, after another episode of illness, he left England with the intention of travelling to Egypt. He stopped instead at Davos Platz, Switzerland, and decided to make the little-known resort his home. At Davos Platz he wrote several biographies of people as diverse as Shelley and Sir Philip Sidney. He also worked on translations of the sonnets of Michaelangelo and Campanella. He was known for writing volumes on the Italian Renaissance and philosophical studies on subjects such as homosexuality. In his later years, he spent an increasing amount of time in Venice, where his eldest daughter, Janet, died in 1887. In 1893, Symonds caught a chill during a visit to Rome. It developed into pneumonia and Symonds died on 19 April. As well as Symonds' published works, noteworthy are his biographies by his close friend, Horatio Brown (1895), and by Phyllis Grosskurth (1964). His authobiography has been edited by Amber Regis and published 2017.
Datec.1859-1963
Related MaterialBiographies and other published works of Symonds are available in the University of Bristol Arts and Social Sciences Library.
Extent3 files
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