DALLAS, ENEAS SWEETLAND (1828 [in fact, 1827]-1879), journalist and author, elder son of John Dallas of Jamaica, a planter of Scottish parentage, by his wife Elizabeth Baillie, daughter of the Rev. Angus Mcintosh of Tain, and sister of Rev. Caldor Mcintosh, was born in the island of Jamaica in 1828, and being brought to England when fouryears of age, was educated at the Edinburgh University, where he studied philosophy under Sir William Hamilton, and acquired the habit of applying notions derived from eclectic psychology to the analysis of (esthetic effects in poetry, rhetoric, and the fine arts. His first publication in which he proved his mastery of this line of investigation was entitled Poetics, an Essay on Poetry, a work which he produced in 1852, when he had taken up his residence in London.

His abilities were destined, however, to be absorbed chiefly in anonymous journalism. He first made his mark in London by sending an article to the Times, a critique which by its vigour and profundity secured imme diate attention. For many years afterwards he was on John T. Delane's brilliant staff. Neither biography, politics, literary criticism, nor any other subject came amiss to his comprehensive intellect. Few men wrote more careful, graceful English, a merit well worth recording. He also contributed to the Daily-News," Saturday Review, Pall Mall Gazette, and the World>, and for sometime in 1868 edited Once a Week.

In 1866 he produced in two volumes a work named The Gay Science, a title borrowed from the Provencal Troubadours. It was an attempt to discover the source in the constitution of the human mind of the pleasure afforded by poetry. The subject was. however, too abstruse for the general reader, and the book did not meet with the attention which it deserved. He acted as a special correspondent for the Times at the Paris exhibition in 1867, and again sent interesting letters to the Times from Paris during the siege of 1870. In 1868 he edited an abridgment of Richardson's Clarissa Harlowe. Afterwards he wrote a treatise on gastronomy, based on the famous work of Brillat-Savarin; to it he attached the pseudonym of A. Kettner, and the title was Kettner's Book of the Table, a Manual of Cookery,' 1877. He was engaged on a new edition of Rochefoucauld's Maxims, and he wrote an elaborate article on that work, which was unpublished at the time of his death. He died at 88 Newman Street, Oxford Street, London, 17 Jan. 1879, and was buried at Kensal Green on 24 Jan. He had a singularly handsome presence and charming manners, and his conversation was bright and courteous.

In December 1853 he married, according to Scottish law, the well-known actress Miss Isabella Glyn (then the widow of Edward Wills),and on 12 July 1855 he was again mar ried to her at St. George's, Hanover Square. A separation followed not long after, and the marriage was dissolved in the divorce court on the wife's petition, 10 May 1874.


Boase, George Clement. “Dallas, Eneas Sweetland.” The Dictionary of National Biography from the Earliest Times to 1900. Eds. Sir Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee. London: Oxford University Press/Humphrey Milford, 1921. 5.394-95. HathiTrust online version of a copy in the University of Michigan Library. Web. 29 April 2022.

[Times. 11 May 1874, p. 13, and 18 Jan. 1879, p. 9 ; Illustrated London News, 8 Feb. 1879, pp. 78, 129, 131, with portrait; Pall Mall Gazette, 21 Jan. 1879, p. 8; World, 22 Jan. 1879, p. 10; Athenaeum, 25 Jan. 1879, p. 122, and 1 Feb. p. 152; Academy, 25 Jan. 1879, p. 74; Era, 2 July 1876, p- 4; Law Journal Reports, xlvi. pt. i. pp. 51-3 (1876).] Q. C. B.

Created 3 May 2022

Last modified 23 January 2024