Henry Morley

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For the cricketer of the same name, see Henry Morley (cricketer).

Henry Morley, circa 1888

Henry Morley (15 September 1822 – 1894) was a writer on English literature and one of the earliest Professors of English Literature.


The son of an apothecary, he was born in Hatton Garden, London, educated at a Moravian school in Germany, and at King's College London, and after practicing medicine and keeping schools at various places, went in 1850 to London, and adopted literature as his profession.

He wrote in periodicals (including Household Words and All the Year Round for Charles Dickens), and from 1859–1864 edited the Examiner.

From 1865–89, he was Professor of English Literature at University College London, where among his pupils was Rabindranath Tagore. From 1882 to 1889, he was principal of University Hall,[1] as Arthur Hugh Clough had been a generation before. The building, on the west side of Gordon Square in the heart of Bloomsbury, at that time also housed Manchester New College, and is now the home of Dr Williams's Library.

His biography was written by Henry Shaen Solly, the son of prominent reformer Henry Solly.


He was the author of various biographies, including Lives of Bernard Palissy, Cornelius Agrippa, Girolamo Cardano and Clément Marot. He also wrote introductions to two books written by John Locke—the 1884 edition of "Two treatises on civil government", and the 1889 edition of "Of civil government and toleration".

His principal work, however, was English Writers (10 volumes 1864-94), coming down to Shakespeare. His First Sketch of English Literature—the study for the larger work—had reached at his death a circulation of 34,000 copies.


  1. ^ J. R. Howard Roberts and Walter H. Godfrey (editors) (1949). "University Hall (Dr. Williams' Library), Gordon Square". Survey of London: volume 21: The parish of St Pancras part 3: Tottenham Court Road & neighbourhood. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 18 June 2012. 

External links[edit]

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainCousin, John William (1910). A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature. London: J. M. Dent & Sons. Wikisource