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Kent, Charles, 1823-1902



  • Existence: 1823 - 1902


Charles William Mark Kent was born in London on November 3, 1823. The eldest son of the Roman Catholic naval officer William Kent, he was educated at Prior Park, Bath and St. Mary's College, Oscott. In 1845 he succeeded William Frederick Deacon as editor of the liberal evening newspaper, The Sun, and in 1850 he purchased it from Murdo Young, whose daughter Ann he married in 1853.

He edited and published the newspaper until its failure in 1871. One of the first dailies to offer book reviews, many of which Kent wrote, The Sun offered frequent leading articles on the political issues of the day, also authored by him. Several of these, including "The Gladstone Government, by A Templar," were published separately under pseudonyms.

During his editorship, Kent also published several literary works, including Aletheia, or, The Doom of Mythology and Other Poems (1850); frequent contributions to Household Words and All the Year Round, both edited by his friend Charles Dickens; a poem welcoming Longfellow to England in 1868; and his collected Poems in 1870. In 1869 Kent attended the preliminary sessions of the Vatican I Ecumenical Council in Rome.

After the failure of The Sun, Kent devoted his time to editing the Weekly Register, a Roman Catholic journal, from 1874-1881, and to producing a series of biographies and editions devoted to English authors. These include The Works of Charles Lamb (1874), containing a memoir of his life with details supplied by the actress Frances Maria Kelly; The Wit and Wisdom of Lord Lytton (1883); The Humour and Pathos of Charles Dickens (1884); and Leigh Hunt as an Essayist (1888). In 1880 he published Corona Catholica, a work containing translations into 50 languages of an epigram on the accession of Leo XIII to the Papacy.

In 1887 Kent received a Civil List Pension, and in his final years contributed several articles to the Dictionary of National Biography. He and his wife had five sons and two daughters; two of the sons predeceased him. He died at his home in Campden Hill on February 23, 1902 and was buried in the Roman Catholic cemetary in Kensal Green.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Charles Kent papers

Call Number: OSB MSS 78
Abstract: Series I, Correspondence, consists almost entirely of single letters to Charles Kent on professional and literary topics. Significant correspondents include E. L. Blanchard; F. C. Burnand, editor of Punch; E. M. Thompson; Laura Valentine; and Samuel Warren. The series also contains a letter from Lamartine praising Kent's poetry; Cardinal Manning's last letter to his mother; and copies of letters addressed to Kent from literary figures such as Charles Dickens, Robert Browning, and Lord...
Dates: 1783-1910