George Webbe Dasent

George Webbe Dasent books and biography


George Webbe Dasent


Sir George Webbe Dasent (May 22, 1817 – June 11, 1896), English writer, was born in St Vincent, West Indies, the son of the Attorney-General of that island.

He was educated at Westminster School, King's College, and Oxford, where he was a contemporary of JT Delane, whose friend he had become at King's College. On leaving the university in 1840 he was appointed to a diplomatic post in Stockholm. Here he met Jakob Grimm, and at his suggestion first interested himself in Scandinavian literature and mythology.

In 1842 he published the results of his studies, a version of The Prose or Younger Edda, and in the following year he issued a Grammar of the Icelandic or Old-Norse Tongue, taken from the Swedish. Returning to England in 1845, he became assistant editor of The Times under Delane, whose sister he married; but he still continued his Scandinavian studies, publishing translations of various Norse stories.

In 1853 he was appointed professor of English literature and modern history at King's College, London.

In 1859 he translated into English Popular Tales from the Norse (Norske Folkeeventyr) by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe. In 1861-1862 he visited Iceland, and subsequently published Gisli the Outlaw and other translations from the Icelandic.

In 1870 he was appointed a civil service commissioner and consequently resigned his post on The Times. In 1876 he was knighted. He retired from the public service in 1892, and died at Ascot on the 11th of June 1896. In addition to the works mentioned above, he published The Story of Burnt Njal, from the Icelandic of the Njal's Saga (1861).

See the Life of Delane (1908), by Arthur Irwin Dasent.


  • This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.

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