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Bertram Dobell Biography (1842-1914)

Early Life of Bertram Dobell

Bertram Dobell, the eldest son of his family, was born in Battle, Sussex, and was a well-known writer and author of his time. His father, Edward Dobell was a tailor who married his mother Elizabeth and moved to London. His experience of war and the tragedy it brings glanced in his writings.

Even since he was a child, he engaged in massive reading. With marvellous memory and scholastic training, he came to be well known. His emphasis on ‘style’ and inherent critical analytic ability laid the groundwork for his literary career and reputation. He devoted ample time to all the editorial work which he undertook.

He wrote for many distinguished journals such as the Athenceuin, notes and Queries, the Quarterly Review, and other periodicals, and he has left behind a large quantity of unprinted verse. His hobby was watching operas, he had a profound liking to art and music.

He also, briefly, worked at the Book auction room. This occupation aided him greatly vis-à-vis his mental state. As stated by his grandson, this occupation supplied him with the spirit and mental fortitude which prevented any weariness of the mind. However, it did not prevent the weariness of the body.

List of Works of Bertram Dobell

He had around 31 works in 692 publications, 6,537 library holdings
His 1st privately printed book, an edition of Rosemary and pansies appeared in 1901. The same book was republished in 1903, containing edits.

Bertram Dobell’s other works include:
Sidelights on Charles Lamb (1903), A Century of Sonnets (1910) among others.

His most famous works include:
Sidelights on Charles Lamb, A lover’s moods, etc. He was also involved in reviewing and editing books of other authors as well, thus earning credit as the scientific editor thereof.

He edited works like The close of life (1915), The Resurrection of Our Lord (1912) Walt Whitman (1910) Centuries of meditations, Letters from Percy Bysshe Shelley to Elizabeth Hitchener, The Poetical Works of Thomas Traherne The close of life (1915).

Dobell: Later Life and War

The later years of life were hard in him, particularly for his body. Although his mind and intellect were at prime, his body was not.

He, although possessed the capability of talking about any of the subjects/scenarios, manuscripts, literature etc., he was deprived of the ability to read, in his last few weeks. He enjoyed his last book “New Poems” by Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, edited by Sir F. G. Kenyon.

The book contained poems by Robert Browning written in his youth these were the sole poems of youth preserved by him. Bertram Dobell was deeply saddened by the outbreak of the 1st World War. He was in his 73rd during the war.

Bertram Dobell


He felt the horrors and brutality of the war quite intensely and wanted the chaos to end. He, when reading about the devastation the war caused, felt the despair and anguish of the people suffering, and he began to realize the fact that he may not live to see the end of this crisis. Soon, his relatives and friends realized the accuracy of this, as he passed away in 1914.

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