William Minto was born near Alford, Aberdeenshire on 10 October 1845 and died in Aberdeen on 1 March 1893. He graduated from Aberdeen University in 1865, taking honours in classics, mathematics and philosophy, an unprecedented triple achievement. In 1867 Minto became assistant to the well-known Dr Alexander Bain, Professor of Logic and English Literature at Aberdeen. He became interested in the study of English, and in 1872 published A Manual of English Prose Literature, Biographical and Critical. In 1873 he moved to London and began to contribute articles to various periodicals, including the Examiner, which he edited from 1874–8. Later he wrote for the Daily News and the Pall Mall Gazette. Characteristics of English Poets from Chaucer to Shirley was published in 1874, and a monograph on Defoe in 1879. Minto also wrote on literary subjects for the Encyclopaedia Britannica. When Professor Bain retired in 1880, Minto was elected to replace him as the Chair of Logic and English at Aberdeen University. Minto wrote three sensationalist novels during this time, and edited poetry by Sir Walter Scott. He died in 1893, just as logic was separated from English at Aberdeen University, and was thus prevented from taking up the Chair in English, which he surely would have occupied. Three of his books were published posthumously: University Extension Manual on Logic (1893), Plain Principles of Prose Composition (1893), and English Literature under the Georges (1894).
From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.