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||John William Galt
|Also Know As:
|Date of Birth:
||4th April 1940
|Place of Birth:
||Jackson, Mississippi, USA
- For the fictional character in Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, see Characters_in_Atlas_Shrugged#John_Galt.
John Galt (May 2, 1779 – April 11, 1839) was a Scottish novelist.
Born in Irvine, Ayrshire, Galt was the son of a naval captain. When his family relocated to Greenock in 1789, Galt became an apprentice and junior clerk, writing essays and stories for local journals in his spare time. He moved to London in 1804 to seek his fortune. In 1809, Galt began studying law at Lincoln's Inn.
While subsequently traveling in Europe, Galt met and befriended Lord Byron. On his return to London, Galt wrote an account of his travels, which met with moderate success. Decades later, he would also publish the first full biography of Lord Byron.
In 1813, Galt attempted to establish a Gibraltan trading company, in order to circumvent Napoleon's embargo on British trade; however, Wellington's victory in Spain made this no longer necessary. Galt then returned to London and married Elizabeth Tilloch. In 1815, he became Secretary of the Royal Caledonian Asylum in London. He also privately consulted in several business ventures.
Concentrating on his writing for the next several years, Galt lived at times in London, Glasgow, Edinburgh and elsewhere. In addition to fiction, he also wrote a number of school texts under the pseudonym Reverend T. Clark. In addition to moving his residence frequently during this period, Galt also switched publishers several times, moving from Blackwood's Magazine to Oliver and Boyd and then back again.
In 1824, Galt was appointed Secretary to the Canada Company, a charter company established to aid in the colonization of Upper Canada. While in Canada, Galt lived in Ontario, where he founded the town of Guelph in 1827. The town of Galt in Ontario is named after him. His three sons played prominent roles in Canadian politics, one of them eventually becoming a minister of Finance.
In 1829, Galt ran afoul with Sir Peregrine Maitland, the Governor of Ontario, who removed Galt from his post and imprisoned him in the King's Bench Prison on a charge of negligence. Although the charges were possibly groundless, Galt was nevertheless incarcerated for a few months; one of Galt's last novels, The Member, has political corruption as its central theme. He retired to Greenock, publishing his two-volume Autobiography in 1833.
Galt's novels are best known for their depiction of Scottish rural life, tinged with ironic humour. Galt wrote the following works:
- Cursory Reflections on Political and Commercial Topics (1812)
- The Life and Administration of Cardinal Wolsey (1812)
- The Tragedies of Maddelen, Agamemnon, Lady Macbeth, Antonia and Clytemnestra (1812)
- Voyages and Travels (1812)
- Letters from the Levant (1813)
- The Life and Studies of Benjamin West (1816)
- The Majolo (2 volumes) (1816)
- The Appeal (1818)
- The Earthquake (3 volumes) (1820)
- Glenfell (1820)
- The Life, Studies and Works of Benjamin West (1820)
- Annals of the Parish (1821)
- The Ayrshire Legatees (1821)
- Sir Andrew Wylie (3 volumes) (1822)
- The Provost (1822)
- The Steam-Boat (1822)
- The Entail (3 volumes) (1823)
- The Gathering of the West (1823)
- Ringan Gilhaize (3 volumes) (1823)
- The Spaewife (3 volumes) (1823)
- The Bachelor's Wife (1824)
- Rothelan (3 volumes) (1824)
- The Omen (1825)
- The Last of the Lairds (1826)
- Lawrie Todd (1830)
- The Life of Lord Byron (1830)
- Southennan (3 volumes) (1830)
- Bogle Corbet or The Emigrants (3 volumes) (1831)
- The Lives of the Players (1831)
- The Member (1832)
- The Radical (1832)
- Stanley Buxton (3 volumes) (1832)
- Autobiography (2 volumes) (1833)
- Eben Erskine or The Traveller (3 volumes) (1833)
- The Ouranoulagos or The Celestial Volume (1833)
- Poems (1833)
- The Stolen Child (1833)
- Stories of the Study (3 volumes) (1833)
- Literary Life and Miscellanies (3 volumes) (1834)
- A Contribution to the Greenock Calamity Fund (1834)
- Efforts by an Invalid (1835)
- The Demon of Destiny and Other Poems (1839)
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