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1911 Encyclopedia Britannica

Anna Swanwick

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ANNA (1813-1899), English writer and philanthropist, was the youngest daughter of John Swanwick of Liverpool, and was born on the 22nd of June 1813.

She was educated partly at home and partly at one of the fashionable boarding-schools of the day, where she received the usual education of accomplishments. Dissatisfied with her own intellectual attainments she went in 1839 to Berlin, where she took lessons in German, Greek and Hebrew. On her return to London she continued these pursuits, aloug with the study of mathematics. In 1843 appeared her first volume of translations, Selections from the Dramas of Goethe and Schiller. In 1847 she published a translation of Schiller's Jungfrau von Orleans; this was followed in 1850 by Faust, Tasso, Iphigenie and Egmont. In 1878 she published a complete translation of both parts of Faust, which appeared with Retsch's illustrations. It passed through several editions, was included in Bohn's series of translations, and ranks as a standard work. It was at the suggestion of Baron Bunsen that she first tried her hand at translation from the Greek. In 1865 she published a blank verse translation of Aeschylus's Trilogy, and in 1873, a complete edition of Aeschylus, which appeared with Flaxman's illustrations. Miss Swanwick is chiefly known by her translations, but she also published some original work. In 1886 appeared Books, our Best Friends and Deadliest Foes; in 1888, An Utopian Dream and How it may be Realized; in 1892, Poets, the Interpreters of their Age; and in 1894, Evolution and the Religion of the Future. Miss Swanwick was interested in many of the social and philanthropic movements of her day. In 1861 she signed John Stuart Mill's petition to parliament for the political enfranchisement of women. She helped in the higher education movement, took part in the foundation of Queen's and Bedford Colleges, and continued to take a sympathetic interest in the movement which led to the opening of the universities to women. Her work was acknowledged by the university of Aberdeen, which bestowed on her the degree of LL.D. She died in November 1899.

See Memoir, by Miss Bruce (1904).

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Bibliography Information
Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Anna Swanwick'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. 1910.

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