Lee, Sir Sidney

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LEE, SIR SIDNEY (1859–1926), English literary historian. Born Solomon Lazarus Lee (his family had previously changed its name from Levi to Lee), he studied at Oxford. Lee was professor of English language and literature at London University from 1913 to 1924. He was the second editor (from vol. 27) of the Dictionary of National Biography, to which he contributed 820 articles and which he brought to a successful conclusion. Lee's Life of Shakespeare, first issued in 1898, was long a standard work. He also wrote a Life of Queen Victoria (1902) and the official Life of King Edward vii (1925–27). Lee originally took some interest in Anglo-Jewish history, and published a study on Jews and crypto-Jews in Shakespearean England. Later, however, he had no connection with the community. Lee was knighted in 1911. His sister, elizabeth lee (1858–1920), was an author, biographer, and translator. She contributed 110 entries to the Dictionary of National Biography, of which 101 were of women. She was thus one of the most notable early biographers of important British women, and was also the only woman editor of the first Dictionary of National Biography.


Times (March 4 and 6, 1926); P. Emden, Jews of Britain (1944), 367–74. add. bibliography: odnb online for Sir Sidney Lee and Elizabeth Lee.

[Cecil Roth]