Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Laurent, Peter Edmund

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LAURENT, PETER EDMUND (1796–1837), classical scholar, born in 1796, was a native of Picardy in France, and studied at the Polytechnic School at Paris, where he gained several prizes. He came to England at an early age, and was engaged for several years as a teacher of modern languages in the university of Oxford. He was also French master at the Royal Naval College, Portsmouth. He was a good mathematician, and is stated (Gent. Mag.) to have spoken fluently 'nearly all the European languages,' and to have been 'well versed in Arabic, Latin, and Greek.' In 1818 he left Oxford with two university friends and visited the towns of northern Italy. Starting from Venice on 9 July 1818 he visited Greece and the Ionian Islands, and came home in 1819 through Naples, Rome, and Florence. In 1821 he published an account of his travels as 'Recollections of a Classical Tour,' London, 4to. The book is not without interest, though Laurent was neither an archaeologist nor a topographer. Laurent died in the autumn (before the end of October) of 1837 at the Royal Hospital, Haslar, Hampshire, aged 41. He was the father of four children, who survived him. His wife, Anne, died at Oxford on 5 Jan. 1848, aged 50 (ib. 1848, new ser. xxix. 220). Besides the 'Recollections' Laurent published: 1. 'Introduction to the Study of German Grammar,' 1817, 12mo. 2. 'Pindar' (English prose translation with notes), 1824, 8vo. 3. 'Herodotus' (English translation from Gaisford's text), 1827, 8vo; 1837, 8vo; also 1846, 8vo. 4. 'Outlines of the French Grammar,' Oxford, 1827, 8vo. 5. 'An Introduction to ... Ancient Geography,' 1830, 8vo; 1832, 8vo.

[Gent. Mag. 1837, new ser. viii. 436; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

W. W.