Walpole, Horace (17171797)

Walpole, Horace, Earl of Orford, born in London, educated at Eton and Cambridge; travelled on the Continent with Gray, the poet, who had been a school-fellow, but quarrelled with him, and came home alone; entered Parliament in 1741, and continued a member till 1768, but took little part in the debates; succeeded to the earldom in 1791; his tastes were literary; wrote “Anecdotes of Painting in England,” and inaugurated a new era in novel-writing with his “Castle of Otranto,” but it is by his “Letters” he will live in English literature, which, “malicious, light as froth, but amusing, retail,” as Stopford Brooke remarks, “with liveliness all the gossip of the time”; he is characterised by Carlyle as “one of the clearest-sighted men of his century; a determined despiser and merciless dissector of cant” (17171797).

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

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