John Lemprière (c. 1765,
1 Life 2 Publications
2.1 Posthumous publications
3 Lemprière in fiction 4 See also 5 References 6 Sources 7 External links
He received his early education at Winchester College, where his
father sent him in 1779, and from 1785 at Pembroke College, Oxford,
probably on the advice of Richard Valpy, graduating BA in 1790, MA in
1792, BD in 1801, and DD in 1803.
Lemprière may have been influenced by another Pembroke man, the
lexicographer Dr Samuel Johnson, whose famous A Dictionary of the
English Language had appeared in 1755. A little over thirty years
later, around 1786, Lemprière started work on his own Classical
In 1787, he was invited by Valpy to be assistant headmaster at Reading
Grammar School, and in 1789, to the great pride of his father, he
preached in St Helier, Jersey. He achieved renown for his Bibliotheca
Classica or Classical Dictionary containing a full Account of all the
Proper Names mentioned in Ancient Authors, (Reading, November 1788),
which, edited by various later scholars, long remained a readable if
not absolutely trustworthy reference book in mythology and classical
history. Lemprière wished "to give the most accurate and satisfactory
account of all the proper names which occur in reading the Classics,
and by a judicious collection of anecdotes and historical facts to
draw a picture of ancient times, not less instructive than
entertaining." (Lemprière, Preface, 1788). It has been a handbook for
teachers, journalists, dramatists and poets for almost two hundred
"Bibliotheca Classica" or "Classical Dictionary containing a full Account of all the Proper Names mentioned in Ancient Authors", (Reading,1788) "Sermon preché dans le Temple de la Paroisse de St. Helier, à Jersey, le deuxième d'Août." (1789) "A Sermon preached at the opening of St. Peter's Chapel, Swinton, in the parish of Eccles, Lancashire, on Sunday, April 10, 1791." "Herodotus" (a translation, Book 1 only), (1792) (References in: The Histories by Herodotus. G. C. Macaulay (1890) Reprint: Barnes and Noble, 2004) "Universal Biography of Eminent Persons in all Ages and Countries", (London, 1808)
Bibliotheca classica: or, A classical dictionary: containing a copious account of the principal proper names mentioned in ancient authors; with the value of coins, weights, and measures, used among the Greeks and Romans; and a chronological table, Volume 2 (1833)
Lemprière in fiction
The 1991 prize-winning novel Lemprière's Dictionary by Lawrence
Norfolk has as its background Lemprière's writing of his dictionary,
as well as the places the Lemprière family came from. The main
character is John Lemprière, author of the Classical Dictionary, and
also his father, Charles Lemprière. The rest of the story is fiction.
It is possible that the poet
Tony Harrison makes reference to
Lemprière in his poem "A Kumquat for John Keats" in the line "Flora
asphyxiated by foul air / unknown to Keats or Lemprière" – as he
would have been a contemporary of John Keats.
The character Mr. Scogan expresses his admiration for Lemprière's
work as a biographer and lexicographer in Aldous Huxley's novel Crome
Yellow (ch. XIV).
In George Orwell's
Keep The Aspidistra Flying
Culture of Jersey HMS Bellerophon (1786) Lawrence Norfolk Lemprière's Bibliotheca Classica Newton St Petrock
^ from: Facsimile Edition of 1865, Bracken Bros., London: 1984 ^ a b Preston, Arthur (1929). St.Nicholas, Abingdon and other Papers, page 363-366. Oxford University Press. ^ a b Chisholm 1911. ^ "Romilly's Opinion". Abingdon School.
A Dictionary of Universal Biography of All Ages and of All Peoples, Albert M. Hyamson, 1916. Pedigree of Lemprière, of S. Trinity This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Lemprière, John". Encyclopædia Britannica. 16 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
A painting of John Lemprière: Dr Lempriere Head master of Abingdon School, c. 1808
WorldCat Identities VIAF: 73905249 LCCN: n83174355 ISNI: 0000 0001 1029 4733 GND: 119083817 SUDOC: 03092958X BNF: cb12224731c (data) BIBSYS: 90058