Forster, John (1812 -1876)

Literary critic and a friend of author Charles Dickens, John Forster was born at Newcastle upon Tyne. His father, a Unitarian who belonged to the junior branch of a Northumberland family, was a cattle-dealer. Well grounded in classics and mathematics at The Royal Grammar School in Newcastle, Forster was sent in 1828 to the University of Cambridge, but after only a month's residence he moved to London, where he attended classes at University College, and entered the Inner Temple. In 1843, Forster was called to the Bar, but he never practised as a lawyer. He preferred the vocation of literary and dramatic critic, and historian. In 1840 he wrote a Treatise on the Popular Progress in English History, which obtained immediate recognition, making Forster a prominent figure in a distinguished circle of literary men that included Leigh Hunt, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Walter Savage Landor, Robert Browning, Thomas Carlyle, and Charles Dickens. In 1868 appeared his Life of Landor. For several years he had been collecting materials for a life of Jonathan Swift, but he interrupted his studies to write his standard Life of Charles Dickens. He had long been intimate with the novelist, and it is by this work that John Forster is now chiefly remembered. The first volume appeared in 1872, and the biography was completed in 1874. Towards the close of 1875 the first volume of his Life of Swift was published, and he had made some progress in the preparation of the second at the time of his death.
Stamp(s) Stamp Information
Motto: Follow me
Crest: A stag trippant
Arms: A chevron vert between three buglehorns stringed
Heraldic Charges: buglehorns (3), Heraldic Charges: chevron between, Heraldic Charges: stag trippant