John Campbell Shairp

(1819—1885) literary scholar

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John Campbell Shairp was born in Houston, West Lothian on 30 July 1819 and died on a visit to Ormsary, Argyllshire on 18 September 1885. He was educated at Glasgow University (where he excelled in logic and moral philosophy) and Oxford. His circle of friends at Balliol College included Matthew Arnold, Francis Turner Palgrave and Arthur Hugh Clough. Other influences on Shairp's intellectual development were John Henry Newman (the Tractarian leader, then at the height of his influence) and the writings of Thomas Carlyle. On leaving Oxford in 1846, Shairp took up a teaching post at Rugby School. In 1861 he was appointed as the Latin Professor at St Andrews University (after working as assistant to the incumbent) and six years later became the Principal of United College, St Andrews. Having applied unsuccessfully to several universities for Chairs of Philosophy, he became Professor of Poetry at Oxford in 1877. Shairp was awarded the degree of LL.D. by Edinburgh University in 1884.


From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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