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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

John Wilson (Christopher North) (1785–1854)

Wilson, John [“Christopher North”]. A Scotch essayist, poet, novelist, and editor; born at Paisley, May 18, 1785; died in Edinburgh, April 3, 1854. The son of a rich manufacturer, he was educated at Glasgow University and at Magdalen College, Oxford; noted as a scholar and athlete; settled in Cumberland, and became one of the “Lake Group” with Wordsworth, De Quincey, Southey, and Coleridge. Losing most of his inherited fortune, he removed to Edinburgh and studied law. From the starting of Blackwood’s Magazine in 1817 he was a chief contributor, and was for many years its generally accredited head. For it he wrote (with Maginn and others, but largely alone) the ‘Noctes Ambrosianæ,’ by which he is best remembered,—imaginary dialogues at Ambrose’s tavern in Edinburgh, between the leading contributors to the magazine; a selection from these was published in 1876. He also wrote, among other things: ‘The Isle of Palms’ (1812), and ‘The City of the Plague’ (1816), poems; ‘Lights and Shadows of Scottish Life’ (1822); ‘The Trials of Margaret Lindsay’ (1823); ‘The Foresters’ (1825); and ‘Essay on the Genius and Character of Burns’ (1841). He was professor of moral philosophy at Edinburgh University from 1820 to near the end of his life. (See Critical and Biographical Introduction).