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Reade, John Edmund (DNB00)

READE, JOHN EDMUND (1800–1870), poetaster and novelist, born in 1800 at Broadwell, Gloucestershire, was the son of Thomas Reade of Barton Manor, Berkshire, by his wife Catherine, daughter of Sir John Hill (d. 24 Jan. 1837). His grandfather, Sir John Reade, was fourth baronet, being great-grandson of Compton Reade of Shipton Court, Oxfordshire, who was created a baronet on 4 March 1661.

John Edmund was educated at a school at Doulting Sheepslate, near Shepton Mallet. His first work, a collection of poems entitled ‘The Broken Heart,’ was published in 1825. From that time till the close of his life he devoted himself to authorship, and developed a remarkable capacity for plagiarism. Byron served for his chief model, but his poems and plays are full of sentiments and phrases taken undisguisedly from the best-known writings of Scott, Wordsworth, Ben Jonson, Croly, and others. His ablest work, ‘Cain, the Wanderer,’ was published in 1830. It bears traces of Byronic influence, and obtained for its author an introduction to Coleridge and a eulogy from Goethe. In 1838, after a long stay in the south of Europe, he published his longest poem, ‘Italy,’ which bears a close resemblance to ‘Childe Harold,’ reproducing even the dying gladiator.

Most of Reade's life was passed in Bath and the west of England, but he was in the habit of making long sojourns in central and southern Europe. He died on 17 Sept. 1870. He married his cousin, Maria Louisa, elder daughter of George Compton Reade, by whom he left a daughter, Agnes Coralie, who married Arnold Highton in 1881. After the marriage her husband assumed the additional surname of Reade.

Besides the works already mentioned, Reade published: 1. ‘Sibyl Leaves: Poems,’ 1827, 8vo. 2. ‘The Revolt of the Angels,’ an epic drama, 1830, 8vo. 3. ‘Catiline,’ a tragedy, 1839, 8vo. 4. ‘Prose from the South,’ 1846, post 8vo; 2nd edit. 1847. 5. ‘The Light of other Days,’ a novel, 1858, 8vo. 6. ‘Wait and Hope,’ a novel, 1859, 8vo. 7. ‘Saturday Sterne,’ a novel, 1862, 8vo, besides other poems and dramas. Several collective editions of his poems were published, the most complete being that of 1865, in 3 vols. 8vo.

[Reade's Works; Men of the Reign, p. 747; Powell's Living Authors of England, ed. 1849, p. 251; Chambers's Cyclop. of Engl. Lit. ii. 417; Allibone's Dict. of Engl. Lit. ii. 1754; Burke's Baronetage.]

E. I. C.