Whitehead, Charles

(1804-1862)
   The son of a wine merchant, he was born in London and began life as a clerk in a mercantile house, but soon adopted literature as his profession. In 1831 he published "The Solitary," a poem that won the approval of Professor Wilson in the magazine Noctes Ambrosianæ, and of other critics of eminence. The Solitary and Other Poems was published in 1849. He also wrote Lives and Exploits of English Highwaymen (1834), and The Autobiography of Jack Ketch (1834) (a burlesque biography of the Newgate hangman, who was, himself, was hanged in 1718 for murder); a blank-verse drama, and The Cavalier, produced at the Haymarket Theatre in 1836. He recommended Charles Dickens (see entry) to the publishers Chapman and Hall; The Pickwick Papers (1836-1837) was the result. He descended into drunkenness, went to Australia, where he had some success, but died miserably in a Melbourne hospital and was buried in a pauper's grave. Some of his poems: "A Summer Storm," "My Gentle Friend, Last Refuge of a Soul," "Night," "Oft When I Lie Me Down to Rest at Night," "The Lamp," "The Riddle of Life," "The Solitary."
   Sources: Dictionary of National Biography. Electronic Edition 1.1. Oxford University Press, 1997. English Poetry: Author Search. Chadwyck-Healey Ltd., 1995 (http://www.lib.utexas.edu:8080/search/epoetry/author.html). Great Books Online (www.bartleby.com). Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources (http://library.stanford.edu). The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry. 11th ed. The Columbia Granger's World of Poetry, Columbia University Press, 2005 (http://www.columbiagrangers.org). The Oxford Book of English Verse, 1250-1918. Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. (New edition, revised and enlarged, Oxford University Press, 1939. The Oxford Book of Regency Verse 1798-1837. H.S. Milford, ed. Oxford University Press, 1928. The Oxford Companion to English Literature. 6th edition. Margaret Drabble, ed. Oxford University Press, 2000.

British and Irish poets. A biographical dictionary. . 2015.

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