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Frederic William Farrar (1831-1903) Biography

Frederic William Farrar was born on August 7th, 1831, in Mumbai, India, and later died on March 22nd, 1903, in Canterbury, England. He was a famous English spiritual writer and author of the famous novel, Eric; or, Little by Little in 1858.


He undertook multiple courses from different educational institutes and vocations throughout his life

He gained an education at the King’s College, London and King William’s College on the Isle of Man. He won a scholarship to the University of London, in 1852 and therein he gained his bachelor’s degree.

Successively, he went to Trinity College at Cambridge and undertook multiple honours, such as the Chancellor’s Prize in English verse. He graduated from the college in 1856, later accepting a position as an assistant master at Harrow school.

His career turned in 1869 when he was appointed as Queen Victoria’s Chaplain.

For 5 years, i.e. from 1871 to 1876, he was at the position of headmaster of Marlborough College. He then went on to become an Arch-deacon of Westminster, rector of St. Margaret’s, Westminster, and Dean of Canterbury, Canon of Westminster Abbey.

Famous Works of Frederic William Farrar

Fredrick William Farrar
Frederick William Farrar
Fredrick William Farrar
English author The Very Reverend Frederic William Farrar (1831-1903), circa 1885.

After writing Eric, he went on to write Julian Home in 1859 and St. Winifred’s in 1862. Along with being a writer, Farrar was also an expert philologist; gaining fellowship of the Royal Society for his Essay on the Origin of Language, in 1860.

In the year 1876, Farrar became a canon of Westminster Abbey and in 1883, became the archdeacon. He was dean of Canterbury from 1895 until his demise.

His other works include Eternal Hope (1878), Chapters on Language (1865),  Life of Christ (1874), An Essay on the Origin of Language (1860), Mercy and Judgement (1881), The Vow of the Nazarite (1879), Life and Works of St. Paul (1879)

Eric, or, Little by Little by Frederic Farrar

It is one of his most famous books. The first edition came out in 1858, published by Adam & Charles Black, at Edinburgh and London. The book deals with the story of a boy at a boarding school, and his descent into moral wretchedness.

The story revolves around the namesake Eric Williams and describes his slow descent into turpitude. Herein, Eric’s inherent moral behaviour and good intentions subside as he falls to the temptations of fame of a schoolboy.

This pride causes him to swivel onto a path of duplicity and intoxication, thus causing him to embark on a path to his ruin. His best friend, Russell, along with his little brother, Vernon, die hoping that Eric will repent, and redeem himself, Eric fails to do so runs away to the sea. Later only to return home and die, finally repenting.