Richard Garnett

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Garnett, Richard (1789-1850)

British philologist who maintained a secret interest in astrology. He was born July 26, 1789, in Otley, Yorkshire, and educated at Otley Grammar School. In time he mastered several languagesFrench, Italian, German, Latin, and Greek and became a curate at Blackburn and assistant master of the grammar school. He also contributed articles to the Protestant Guardian. After the death of his first wife and their infant daughter, he moved to Lichfield, where he became priest-vicar of Lichfield Cathedral in 1829 and absorbed himself in the study of comparative philosophy. He contributed important papers to the Quarterly Review dealing with English lexicography, dialects, and the Celtic languages. In 1834 he married his second wife, Rayne Weaks.

In 1838 he became assistant keeper of printed books at the British Museum Library. He became a member of the Philological Society and contributed important papers to its Transactions. He died September 27, 1850.

Few suspected that this eminent scholar of philology and important official at the august British Museum Library was secretly fascinated by astrology. However, he not only studied early accounts of this subject but also experimented himself with research on the association of planetary positions with mental illness. He published his findings under the pseudonym A. G. Trent (an anagram of his own name).

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