Greg, W.W. (Walter Wilson), 1875-1959

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1875-07-09
Death 1959-03-04
Britons
English

Biographical notes:

Walter Wilson Greg, bibliographer and literary scholar, was born in Wimbledon Common, England, on July 9, 1875. He was the only child of the idustrialist and author William Rathbone Greg and Julia Wilson Greg, daughter of James Wilson, the founder of The Economist . Greg's family hoped that he would assume the editorship of the newspaper someday, and he was educated at Harrow School and at Trinity College, Cambridge, from which he received a "pass" degree in 1897.

During his time at Trinity, Greg became fascinated by bibliography and textual editing, studying with R. B. McKerrow, and in 1898 he joined the Bibliographical Society and began a lifelong friendship with its secretary, A. W. Pollard. He served as Librarian of Trinity College from 1907 until 1913, when he resigned upon marrying his cousin Elizabeth Gaskell. Greg never held an official academic appointment again, but his family fortune enabled him to pursue his productive scholarly career for several decades.

Greg founded the Malone Society, serving first as its Secretary, and then as its President; the society during his tenure published more than one hundred editions and facsimile editions of English plays and dramatic documents written prior to 1640. He is best known for his A Bibliography of the English Printed Drama to the Restoration (4 volumes, 1939-1959); his other publications include English Literary Autographs, 1550–1650 (1925–32), Dramatic Documents from the Elizabethan Playhouses (1931), the parallel-text edition Marlowe's ‘Doctor Faustus’, 1604–1616 (1950), and the influential The Editorial Problem in Shakespeare (revised 3rd edition, 1954).

Greg received many literary and academic honors, including a D.Litt. from Oxford and foreign membership in the American Philosophical Society. In 1950 he was knighted "for services to the study of English literature." He died at home in River, Sussex, in 1959, survived by his wife and their three children.

From the guide to the Walter Wilson Greg papers, 1559-1959, 1905-1959, (Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library)

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Subjects:

  • English drama--Early modern andElizabethan, 1500-1600--Criticism, Textual
  • English drama--Bibliography
  • Scholars--Great Britain
  • World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives, British
  • English drama--Early modern and Elizabethan, 1500-1600
  • Britain, Battle of, Great Britain, 1940

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