Matthew Prior: A Study of His Public Career and Correspondence

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Matthew Prior (1664-1721) was a minor poet and diplomat under King William III and subsequently Queen Anne. As an envoy to the Netherlands and France and negotiator of the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 he had a ringside seat at the European power struggles of his time, while at the same time forging a literary career by publishing poetry and angling for the post of Poet Laureate. Prior's surviving correspondence to his patrons and paymasters is a uniquely witty record of diplomatic life. The first full-length biography of Prior, this book was first published in 1921. Its author, Leopold George Wickham Legg, was an editor of the Dictionary of National Biography. The appendixes include detailed information about Prior's family background and transcriptions of some of his surviving letters and a diary from 1712.