Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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HUDSON, Henry Norman, Shakespeare scholar, born in Cornwall, Addison County, Vermont, 28 January, 1814; died in Cambridge, Massachusetts, 16 January, 1886. In early life he worked at the trades of baker and wheelwright. He was graduated at Middlebury in 1840, went south, and taught in Kentucky and in Huntsville, Alabama There he met a lady, also a teacher, whom he had known in New England. In their conversations, he said she was continually quoting" Shakespeare, until he finally asked her one day, "What is it about Shakespeare?" She replied: "Have you not read Shakespeare ? .... Never a line," said he, "except in quotation." "Then," she said, "I advise you to read Shakespeare without delay." "I acted upon her advice," he said, "and very soon found that there was another world inside of the world in which I was living, about which I knew nothing." In his dissertation on the "character of Desdemona" may be found a beautiful passage, referring in a most appreciative manner to this lady, who was so directly instrumental in shaping his career. He was thirty years of age when he received this advice. In less than a quarter of a century after he had acquired a wide reputation, and was accepted as one of the great authorities in Shakesperean lore, and was the means of arousing an enthusiasm in behalf of the bard of Avon, so great as to inspire a man of wealth to endow a professorship of Shakespeare in Boston university. In 1848 Mr. Hudson published his "Lectures on Shakespeare" (2 vols., Boston). A second edition was called for the same year, and the work has finally been expanded to three volumes. In 1849 he was ordained deacon in the Episcopal church. He also published an edition of Shakespeare, with a life of the poet, and notes, original and selected (11 vols., Boston, 1851-'6). Subsequently he devoted his time and attention to the life and works of the poet Wordsworth, and published "Studies in Wordsworth" (Boston, 1884). For a few years he edited the New York "Churchman," and on his retirement from the editorship of this paper he undertook the publication of the "American Church Monthly." He was ordained a priest, and from 1858 till 1860 was rector of a church in Litchfield, Connecticut He published one volume of sermons (Chicago, 1874), the style of the composition of which reminds one very forcibly of Lord Bacon. When the civil war began Mr. Hudson obtained a chaplaincy in a corps of engineers, which was ordered to Virginia. After his return to the north he published "A Chaplain's Campaigns with General Butler" (New York, 1865), which produced a great sensation. He was editor of the "Saturday Evening Gazette" for two years. He received the degree of LL.D. from Middlebury college in 1881. He was professor of Shakespeare in Boston university. Besides the works already mentioned he published a "School Shakespeare" (Chicago, 1870); "Shakespeare, his Life, Art, and Characters" (1872); a series of text books containing selections from the works of classic authors.
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