James Edward Fitzgerald

(1818—1896) politician and civil servant in New Zealand

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(1818–96), poet, editor and essayist, born in Bath as the fifth son of a wealthy Irish landowner, was an Irish aristocrat in the truest sense, with a powerful sense of duty and a strong vein of quixotic idealism. A brilliant mathematics student at Christ's College, Cambridge, and a handsome young man of wit and charm, he aspired to be politician, philosopher, artist, writer and man of action. He was a good water colourist and woodcarver, sang well, played the guitar and talked incessantly and brilliantly. Walter Savage Landor, one of the foremost men of letters of the age, guided and encouraged this precocious talent; unfortunately not even Landor could transform FitzGerald's verse into poetry, but from him FitzGerald adapted a superb prose style—fluent, clear, vigorous and often powerfully persuasive.


From The Oxford Companion to New Zealand Literature in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Literature.

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