Image of Robert Smith Surtees


Lifetime: 1805 - 1864 Passed: ≈ 160 years ago


Editor, Novelist



Robert Smith Surtees

Robert Smith Surtees was an English author and editor who was born in 1805. He is best remembered for his humorous novels, which were immensely popular during his lifetime and remain so to this day. He was also an accomplished editor and publisher, as well as a keen sportsman who wrote a great deal about hunting and horse racing.

Surtees was born into a well-to-do family and was educated at Durham School and Oxford University. He started writing for a living when he was still in his late teens and the first of his novels, Handley Cross, was published in 1831. He went on to write more than thirty books, earning a great deal of money and fame in the process.

In addition to his novels, Surtees was a prolific editor and publisher. He was the founder and owner of the magazine The New Sporting Magazine and its successor, The London Sporting Magazine, which were hugely popular in their day. He also edited several books of poetry and was an editor of the popular annuals The Keepsake and The Forget-Me-Not.

Surtees was an enthusiastic sportsman and wrote extensively on horse racing, hunting and shooting. He was the author of two major works on fox hunting, The Surtees Hunting Manual and The Practical Sportsman. He also wrote The Horseman's Manual, a book which remains a classic of equestrian literature.

Surtees was a man of great principle and had a strong sense of justice. He was a staunch supporter of the Conservative Party, but he was also a defender of the rights of the poor and the oppressed. He was noted for his support of the Temperance movement, which advocated the abstention from alcohol, and for his opposition to slavery.

Surtees died in 1864 at the age of 59. He is remembered today as a prolific author of humorous novels, a keen sportsman and an editor of great repute. His works, including Handley Cross, Mr. Sponge's Sporting Tour and Ask Mamma, remain popular to this day.

One interesting fact about Robert Smith Surtees is that he was the great-grandfather of the famous author Robert Galbraith, who wrote the popular book series A Cormoran Strike Mystery.

Books by Robert Smith Surtees

Ask Mamma: or The Richest Commoner In England Cover image

Ask Mamma: or The Richest Commoner In England

Morality Adventure Society Aristocracy England Fun

It follows the story of John Jorrocks, a rich, self-made man with a passion for hunting, who finds himself embroiled in a series of comical misadventures. Written during the Victorian era, Ask Mamma is considered a classic of English literature and h...

Mr. Sponge's Sporting Tour Cover image

Mr. Sponge's Sporting Tour

Mr. Sponge's Sporting Tour is a delightful comic satire of the fox-hunting fraternity of the mid 19th Century. Surtees takes great pleasure in creating comic personalities and dialogue and resembles the later Pickwick Papers of Dickens, whose style m...