William Wilkie

(1721—1772) Church of Scotland minister and poet

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author of The Epigoniad (1757, 1759), an epic poem in heroic couplets, in nine books, on the siege of Thebes: it was modelled on Homer and inspired by the ‘heroic Tragedy’ of Sophocles. It was highly regarded by Hume and by A. Smith. Wilkie was raised on a Scottish farm, and had ‘shaken hands with poverty up to the very elbow’; he became a skilled classicist and mathematician and was appointed professor of natural philosophy at St Andrews. He and was a member of the Select Society.

Subjects: Literature.

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