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The AntiquaryJohn Aubrey's Historical Scholarship$
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Kelsey Jackson Williams

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198784296

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198784296.001.0001

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Writing Lives

Writing Lives

Aubrey, Anthony Wood, and Antiquarian Biography

Chapter:
(p.95) 4 Writing Lives
Source:
The Antiquary
Author(s):

Kelsey Jackson Williams

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198784296.003.0005

Aubrey is most famous for his Brief Lives, scintillating pen portraits of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century scholars, courtiers, scientists, and others. Their origin, however, lay in his long-term collaboration with the antiquary Anthony Wood, whose Historia et antiquitates universitatis Oxoniensis (1674) and Athenae Oxonienses (1691–2) were built in part upon Aubrey’s biographical researches. As well as working on these examples of historia literaria with Wood, Aubrey also wrote a Life of his friend Thomas Hobbes, which led him to develop deeply held theories of biographical practice which would later emerge in the Brief Lives and the Apparatus for the Lives of Our English Mathematical Writers. This chapter recovers Aubrey’s intellectual development as a biographer and explores the scholarly influences and traditions which underpin his best-known work. In biography, as in much else, antiquarianism and its methodologies provided Aubrey with a foundation upon which to build something radically new.

Keywords:   Anthony Wood, biography, Brief Lives, historia literaria, Thomas Hobbes

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