Sonnenschein, Prof. Edward Adolf

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Sonnenschein, Prof. Edward Adolf

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1851 - 2 September 1929


(from Wikipedia entry)

Edward Adolf Sonnenschein (1851 - 2 Sep 1929, Bath, Somerset) was an English Classical Scholar and writer on Latin grammar and verse. Sonnenschein was educated at University College School and then in 1868 at University College London in 1868.

He was appointed Oxford professor of Greek and Latin at Mason College, Birmingham (afterwards University of Birmingham) in 1883, staying there until 1918. He was a Plautine scholar, publishing editions of Captivi (1879), Mostellaria (1884), and Rudens (1891). He took up the reform of grammar teaching, and published the "Parallel Grammar" series. With John Percival Postgate, he founded the Classical Association in 1903.

Much of his grammatical research was summed up in The Unity of the Latin Subjunctive (1910) and The Soul of Grammar (1927). He insisted upon the humanities taking their proper place in the modern university; and took up the question of war-guilt during the European war; he was a very exact scholar. Sonnenschein was born in London in 1851, the eldest son of a teacher, Adolf Sonnenschein from Moravia (now part of the Czech Republic) and Sarah Robinson Stallybrass. He married Edith Annesley Bolton (1854-1943) and they had three children: Edward Jamie, who later took the surname Somerset; Christopher Edward, who was killed in a mountaineering accident in Switzerland on 22 February 1914 and Edward Oliver, who later took the surname Stallybrass. Because of the hostility to Germans during the First World War, two of his sons changed their surnames to English names. Adolf Sonnenschein's third son, William Swan Sonnenschein born in 1855 (Edwards younger brother) took his second name 'Swan' from the maternal grandfather’s friendship.

As a young man William was apprenticed to the firm of Williams and Norgate, where he gained experience of second hand bookselling before founding his own company, W. Swan Sonnenschein & Allen, with the first of several partners, J. Archibald Allen, in 1878. This partnership was dissolved in 1882 when William married and the firm's name changed to W Swan Sonnenschein & Co. The firm published general literature and periodicals but specialized in sociology and politics. Sonnenschein was involved with the Ethical Society and published their literature.

In 1895 Swan Sonnenschein became a limited liability company, and in 1902 William Swan Sonnenschein left to work at George Routledge and Sons, and later at Kegan Paul. Swan Sonnenschein was amalgamated with George Allen & Co in 1911. He changed his ‘German’ surname during the First World War to Stallybrass. He died in 1934.

Sonnenschein was an influential classical scholar during his time at Mason College between 1883 and 1918, where he wrote prolifically. He edited several plays by Plautus, and collaborated with John Percival Postgate, forming the Classical Association in 1903, becoming its Secretary. He contributed to the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica (designated by the initials "E. A. So.").

His views differed from Otto Jespersen (1860-1943) a Danish linguist, which he explained in his 1927 book, The Soul of Grammar, as his answer to Jespersen's 1924 Philosophy of Grammar. C. T. Onions, the last editor of the original Oxford English Dictionary, was one of his pupils.

For more information, see Wikipedia entry at: .


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Welby, Victoria, Lady, 1837-1912 (1837-1912)

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Created 2015-10-29 by Anna St.Onge.


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