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Biographis and Works
Tyrwhitt 1777

 Biographies & Works

(Published 1770 - 2022+)


Discover Chatterton's Life & Works and see how he was viewed through the ages, via the following list of books in date order from 1770 to the present day. Most with links to copies to read online.  This also gives us the opportunity to trace 'facts' to their source.  

Note: Magazines and Periodicals are not included here, they can be viewed in Magazines and Periodicals (a work in progress - as so much is and continues to be!)

An Elegy on William Beckford:  No link yet   (I will upload my own copy soon).

Thomas Chatterton, 1770.

The Auction a Poem, A Familiar Epistle to a Friend

Thomas Chatterton, 1770.

The Execution of Sir Charles Bawdin - No link yet.

Thomas Eagles, 1772.

Poems, supposed to have been written at Bristol by Thomas Rowley...

First edition 1777   (Second edition 1777 - no link)  Third edition  1778

The very first attemp at a collected edition of Chatterton's 'Rowley' works

(Scroll down to 1911, Maurice Evan Hare's updated edition of 1778).

Thomas Tyrwhitt 1777, 1778

Miscellanies in Prose and Verse

John Broughton 1778

A Letter to the Editor of the Miscellanies of Thomas Chatterton

Horace Walpole 1779

Love and Madness.

All editions with basic analysis. Much of what we know about Chatterton derive from the wonderful weirdness of Herbert Croft's book.

Herbert Croft 1780 & 1786

Observations Upon the Poems of Thomas Rowley

In which the Authenticity of those Poems is Ascertained 

Jacob Bryant 1781

Poems supposed to have been written at Bristol... by Thomas Rowley Priest...

Jeremiah Milles, D.D 1782

Cursory Observations on the Poems Attributed to Thomas Rowley

First edition     or    The Augustan Reprint Society edition

Edmund Malone 1782

A Supplement to the Miscellanies of Thomas Chatterton

T. Becket 1784

Supplement to Chatterton's Miscellanies. Kew Gardens.

From a British Library transcript  : see Warren p.54

Seems to be a one off, with no textual authority.

No title page; editor unknown, date 1785?

The History and Antiquities of the City of Bristol

William Barrett: 1789

The Life of Thomas Chatterton (1789)

The first full biography; Biographia Britannica Vol 4. (1789).

(It starts with the phrase; 'Appendix to Letter C. No. 1, Vol 3,

page 450,' which is to follow if I can find it)

George Gregory: 1789

The Life of Thomas Chatterton

The first separate full biography.

George Gregory 1789

Poems, Supposed to have been written at Bristol

by Thomas Rowley and Others in the 15th century

(Contains Coleridge's Monody on the Death of Chatterton).

View 1794   -   View 1799

Lancelot Sharpe (Editor)

The Works of Thomas Chatterton (The Works of the British Poets)

Robert Anderson, 1795

The Revenge, A Burletta

by Thomas Chatterton

Published 1795

The Monthly Visitor

Bio and 'Goggle-Eyed' portrait.

It is now 26 years since the death of Chatterton, and this magazine is adamant that he didn't write the poems of Rowley, see pages 5 - 20. Practically everything we know about anything is derivative, especially this bio, but it is still an enjoyable read. 

H.D.Symonds, January 1797

Original Poems of the Late Unfortunate Thomas Chatterton

More and anecdote than a biography. Edward Gardner states that he knew Chatterton for the three months before he left Bristol.  Chatterton would have been 17, Gardner 13.

He was a friend of Edward Jenner, and wrote an essay, Observations on the Utility of inoculating for the variolae vaccinae, or cow-pox, published 1801.

Edward Gardner 1798 (no link yet, photos due from my own copy)

The Works of Thomas Chatterton, in three volumes

Vol 1: His Life, by Gregory and Miscellaneous Poems;

Vol 2: The Poems Attributed to Rowley; 

Vol 3: Miscellaneous Pieces in Prose. 

Southey, Cottle & Gregory 1803

The Life of Thomas Chatterton

John Davis 1806

An Historical and Architectural Essay relating to Redcliffe Church...Also an Essay on the Life and Character of Thomas Chatterton.

The essay on Chatterton includes transcripts of his two letters to Dodsley, printed for the first time. Click here to go directly to the project page dedicated to the letters.

John Britton  1813

The works of John Dix

The Life of Chatterton (1837)

Complete with the infamous frontispiece portrait of 'Chatterton'

The Life of Chatterton (1851)

Second edition but this time without the portrait.

Pen and Ink Sketches: (1845)

John Dix

Oeuvres complètes de Chatterton. précédées d'une Vie de Chatterton. 

Volume 1     -   Volume 2 

Pagnon (translator),  Life by Callet 1839

The Poetical Works of Thomas Chatterton

Notices of his Life. History of the Rowley Controversy.

A delightful edition with a backstory to follow.

Volume 1    -    Volume 2

Charles B. Wilcox 1842

Memorials of the Canynges' Family...[with]...Memoranda Relating  to Chatterton 

George Pryce  1854

Chatterton: A Story of the Year 1770

(In: Essays Chiefly on English Poets)

Chatterton is in illustrious company in this volume of essays, which includes Shakespeare; Milton, & Wordsworth. The Chatterton essay in this collection has a few errors, which were corrected when Masson published a volume dedicated to Chatterton in 1874 - see lower down. 

David Masson 1856

Chatterton: an Essay

S. R. Maitland 1857

The Works of Thomas Chatterton

Volume 1 (1857) Volume 2 (1863)

Boston: Little, Brown and Company 1857

The Life of Thomas Chatterton, The Poet

James R. Bennett: pub. 1860

The Martyrdom of Misdirected Genius

The Life and Character of Chatterton - A Lecture.

Stephen N. Elrington: pub. 1864

Chatterton: A Biographical Study

Daniel Wilson: pub 1869

The Poetical Works of Thomas Chatterton memoir by Edward Bell

Volume 1         Volume 2 

Walter Skeat (with a memoir by Edward Bell) 1871

The Poet Chatterton (chapter)  - - A Book About Bristol..(title page).

A chapter on Chatterton and mentions him elsewhere on numerous occasions.

John Taylor 1872 :  Librarian of the Bristol Museum and Library

Chatterton: A Story of the Year 1770

David Masson 1874

The Love Letters of Mr H & Miss R.

Based on Love and Madness by H. Croft

Gilbert Burgess (Editor)  1895

The Rowley Poems of Thomas Chatterton

Volume 1  :  Volume 2

Robert Steele & Charles Ricketts   1898

Bristol and its Famous Associations

A chapter on Chatterton; includes the first printing of photographs of Chatterton's 'Will,'  & the first published images of Burgum and of Catcott.

Stanley Hutton 1907

Thomas Chatterton, The Marvelous Boy

A Biography of Chatterton by a Pulitzer prize winner.

Charles Edward Russell 1908

The True Chatterton

A Biography of Chatterton from one of the protagonists in the Chatterton Family Bible saga

John Ingram 1910

The Rowley Poems by Thomas Chatterton

The link is to a PDF of this book on the rather wonderful Ex-Classics website

Reprinted from Tyrwhitt's Third Edition

Edited, with an introduction, by 

Maurice Evan Hare 1911

Thomas Chatterton, The Marvelous Boy to which is added "The Exhibition" A Personal Satire

Esther Parker Ellinger 1930 (no Link)

A Life of Thomas Chatterton

The definitive Life of Chatterton.  It seems to be available online only to those who move in academic circles. Although there can't be too many Dons reading it online, as most of them were killed off in Morse and Endeavour.  To overcome this difficulty (not the missing Dons but the lack of an online copy available to all) I have photographed every one of the 800 odd pages in Meyerstein's autograph manuscript copy. The link in the title above will take you to my page dedicated to Meyerstein. 

E. H. W. Meyerstein 1930

The Marvellous Boy (no link yet)

Ernst Penzoldt - Translated by J. Trounstine 1931

Thomas Chatterton

A Short Biography of 15 pages.

Basil Cottle 1963

The Marvelous Boy. The Life and Myth of Thomas Chatterton (no link yet).

I like this edition, even though the opening page of the Life has Chatterton's year of birth as 1753, and the later edition failed to correct this error. It actually put me off from reading the book. However, nearly twenty years on from first buying it, I finally put my picky, prickly attitude to one side and really enjoyed the book and found it informative.

Linda Kelly 1971

The Family Romance of the Impostor-Poet Thomas Chatterton.

Count your blessings that this edition is not available online. It takes only one page or so before Kaplan talks about the penis - it is so easy to make judgments from a distance of six inches, sorry, I mean 200 years  (This is not my favourite book or author).

Louise J. Kaplan 1988

The Forger's Shadow (2002)

The love that Nick has for the subject is palpable and, of course, Chatterton looms large throughout the book, including images of the death of Chatterton on the front and back endpapers. What I like, too, is that it covers so many layers of the art of 'forgery' in literature. This is what I really like, learning something new at the same time as being entertained. Finally, extra thanks go to Nick for including that indispensable thing, an index - ooh, I just love a good index, I do, I do!  Nick is standing on the shoulders of Meyerstein's index, from his A Life of Thomas Chatterton, which contains the scariest index ever written!   (No link for online reading).

Nick Groom 2002.      Available to buy at Abebooks

Assorted Essays on Chatterton - Click to View

Novels - Works of Imagination - No Link Yet

Eighteenth-Century Poetry Archive

A project to gather online all 18th century poetry - including Chatterton's works.

Heads Up!

When searching a specific word in an online volume you will sometimes get a negative result even though the word is present!  The function finds it difficult to recognise some words due to faded or foxed type, or when the long S is used (see image below).

The True Chatterton, John Ingram 1910
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