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ARBER, EDWARD (1836- ), English man of letters,
was born in London on the 4th of December 1836. From 1854
to 1878 he was a clerk in the admiralty; from 1878 to 1881
lecturer on English, under Prof. H. Morley, at University College;
and from 1881 to 1894 professor of English at Mason College,
Birmingham. From 1894 he lived in London as emeritus professor,
being also a fellow of King’s College. In 1905 he received
the honorary degree of D. Litt. at Oxford. He married in 1869,
and had two sons, one of them, E.A.N. Arber, becoming
demonstrator in palaeobotany at Cambridge. As a scholarly
editor Professor Arber’s services to English literature are memorable.
His name is associated particularly with the series of
“English Reprints” (1868-1880), by which an accurate text of
the works of many English authors, formerly only accessible in
rare or expensive editions, was placed within reach of the
general public. Among the thirty volumes of the series were
Gosson’s School of Abuse, Ascham’s Toxophilus, Tottel’s Miscellany,
Naunton’s Fragmenta Regalia, &c. It was followed by
the “English Scholar’s Library” (16 vols.) which included the
Works (1884) of Captain John Smith, governor of Virginia, and
the Poems (1882) of Richard Barnfield. In his English Garner
(8 vols. 1877-1896) he made an admirable collection of rare old
tracts and poems; in 1899-1901 he issued British Anthologies
(10 vols.), and in 1907 began a series called A Christian Library.
He also accomplished single-handed the editing of two vast, and
invaluable, English bibliographies: A Transcript of the Registers
of the Stationers’ Company, 1553-1640 (1875-1894), and The
Term Catalogues, 1668-1709; with a number for Easter Term
1711 (1904-1906), edited from the quarterly lists of the booksellers.
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