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Aubrey, John


Subject Literature » Renaissance Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405194495.2012.x


John Aubrey (1626–97) was an antiquary, biographer, and miscellanist. His works range from mathematics and natural philosophy to archaeology and antiquarianism, and from folklore and fieldwork to the biographical sketches for which he is most famous today. Aubrey was born on 12 March 1626 at Easton Pierce, near Kington St Michael in Wiltshire. He received his early education from John Brome and then, from the age of eight, he attended the school of the Reverend Robert Latimer in Leigh Delamere. In 1638 he was sent as a boarder to the grammar school at Blandford St Mary in Dorset. Despite excelling academically, his time there was not happy, as he fell victim to both the ‘envy and treachery’ of other schoolboys and the ‘tyrannie’ and thwacking of his masters. He seems to have drawn on these unhappy experiences later in life, when he argues in An idea of the education of a young gentleman (1684) for a less disciplined pedagogy and complains of ‘the tedious effects of grammar’ and the ‘tyrannical beating and dispiriting of children’. In 1642 he went up to Oxford, entering Trinity College as a gentleman commoner. But his studies were disrupted, first by the Civil War, and then by his decision to enrol at the Middle Temple. By the end of the decade his studies were further disrupted by his father's ill health and his return to Wiltshire to take control of the family estates. In January ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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