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.
Thomas Chatterton, 1770.
The Execution of Sir Charles Bawdin - No link yet.
Thomas Eagles, 1772.
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
John Broughton 1778
Horace Walpole 1779
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
In which the Authenticity of those Poems is Ascertained
Jacob Bryant 1781
Jeremiah Milles, D.D 1782
Cursory Observations on the Poems Attributed to Thomas Rowley
Edmund Malone 1782
T. Becket 1784
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?
William Barrett: 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 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).
Lancelot Sharpe (Editor)
Robert Anderson, 1795
by Thomas Chatterton
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)
Southey, Cottle & Gregory 1803
John Davis 1806
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.
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.
Charles B. Wilcox 1842
George Pryce 1854
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
S. R. Maitland 1857
The Works of Thomas Chatterton
Boston: Little, Brown and Company 1857
James R. Bennett: pub. 1860
Stephen N. Elrington: pub. 1864
Daniel Wilson: pub 1869
The Poetical Works of Thomas Chatterton memoir by Edward Bell
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
David Masson 1874
Based on Love and Madness by H. Croft
Gilbert Burgess (Editor) 1895
Robert Steele & Charles Ricketts 1898
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
A Biography of Chatterton by a Pulitzer prize winner.
Charles Edward Russell 1908
A Biography of Chatterton from one of the protagonists in the Chatterton Family Bible saga
John Ingram 1910
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)
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
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).
Novels - Works of Imagination - No Link Yet
A project to gather online all 18th century poetry - including Chatterton's works.
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).