E.S. Dallas was the elder son of John Dallas of Jamaica, a planter of Scottish parentage, and his wife Elizabeth (née Baillie), the daughter of the Rev. Angus McIntosh of Tain and sister of Rev. Caldor McIntosh. He was born in Jamaica in 1828 and was brought to England when he was four years of age. He was educated at the Edinburgh University, where he studied philosophy under Sir William Hamilton, and acquired the habit of applying notions derived from eclectic psychology to the analysis of aesthetic effects in poetry, rhetoric, and the fine arts.
His first publication in which he proved his mastery of this line of investigation was entitled Poetics, an Essay on Poetry, a work which he produced in 1852, while he resided in London. However, his abilities were destined to be absorbed chiefly in anonymous journalism. He first made his mark in London by sending an article to The Times, a critique which by its vigour and profundity secured immediate attention.
For many years afterwards, he was on John Thadeus Delane's brilliant staff. Neither biography, politics, literary criticism, nor any other subject came amiss to his comprehensive intellect. Few men wrote more careful, graceful English, a merit well worth recording.
Dallas also contributed to the Daily News, the Saturday Review (London), the Pall Mall Gazette, and the World. For about a year and a half, in 1868-69, he was editor of Once a Week. In 1866 he produced two volumes of a projected four-volume work named The Gay Science, a title borrowed from Provençal troubadours. It was an attempt to discover the source in the constitution of the human mind of the pleasure afforded by poetry. The subject was, however, too abstruse for the general reader, and the book did not meet with the attention which it deserved.
He acted as a special correspondent for The Times at the Paris exhibition of 1867, and again sent interesting letters to The Times from Paris during the siege of 1870. In 1868 he edited an abridgment of Samuel Richardson's Clarissa. Afterwards he wrote a treatise on gastronomy, based on the famous work of Brillat-Savarin; to it he attached the pseudonym of A. Kettner, and the title was Kettner's Book of the Table, a Manual of Cookery, 1877. More recently he was engaged on a new edition of François de La Rochefoucauld's Maxims, and he wrote an elaborate article on that work, which was unpublished at the time of his death.
In December 1853, he married, according to Scottish law, the well-known actress Miss Isabella Glyn (then the widow of Edward Wills), and on 12 July 1855, he was again married to her at St George's, Hanover Square. A separation followed not long after, and the marriage was dissolved in the divorce court on the wife's petition, 10 May 1874.
- Super, R. H. The Chronicler of Barsetshire: A Life of Anthony Trollope. University of Michigan Press, 1988. pp. 256-57.
- Modern English Biography, Volume I (A -- H), ed. by Frederick Boase, London: Frank Cass & Co. LTD, 1965.
- Eneas Sweetland Dallas works from Archive.org
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: "Dallas, Eneas Sweetland". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
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Eneas Sweetland Dallas