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Thomas Creech

(1659—1700) translator and classical scholar


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Thomas Creech was born in Blandford, Dorset and died in Welwyn, Hertfordshire in June 1700. He was born of humble parents, but received a good education, reading the classics with Thomas Curgeneven, rector of Folke in Dorset and (later) master of Sherborne School. He was admitted in 1675 as a commoner to Wadham College, Oxford, and was elected Scholar in the following year. He gained his BA in 1680, his MA in 1683 and took a BD in 1696. As a young man, he had a reputation as a hard worker and a fine classical scholar, gaining a Fellowship of All Souls on merit (he had no rich or powerful patrons) in 1683. In his later years he suffered problems of mental health, becoming prone to fits of ‘melancholy’. (In its seventeenth-century sense, for example as used by Robert Burton, ‘melancholy’ has a stronger sense than it does today, and counted as a form of madness.) Between 1694 and 1696 Creech became headmaster of Sherborne School, but this venture into pedagogy was not a success, and he soon returned to Oxford. In 1699 he accepted the College living at Welwyn, but this too failed to relieve his condition, and he committed suicide in 1700. Although his suicide was attributed by some contemporary critics to his (alleged) espousal of Epicurean principles, the more probable proximate cause was a failed love-suit.

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From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Philosophy.


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