Robert Gordon Latham

(1812 - 1888)

Biography of Robert Gordon Latham

Robert Gordon Latham FRS (24 March 1812 – 9 March 1888) was an English ethnologist and philologist.
The eldest son of Thomas Latham, vicar of Billingborough, Lincolnshire, he was born there on 24 March 1812. He entered Eton College in 1819, and in 1829 went to King's College, Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. in 1832, and was soon afterwards elected a Fellow.
Latham studied philology for a year on the continent, near Hamburg, then in Copenhagen with Rasmus Christian Rask, and finally in Christiania (now Oslo). In Norway he knew Ludvig Kristensen Daa and Henrik Wergeland; he wrote about the country in Norway and the Norwegians (1840).
In 1839 he was elected professor of English language and literature in University College, London. Here he associated with Thomas Hewitt Key and Henry Malden, linguists working in the tradition of Friedrich August Rosen. Together they developed the Philological Society, expanding it from a student group to a broad base among London philologists, publishing its own Proceedings.

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