Previous Next

Dictionary of World Biography


Qaddafi see Gaddafi

Qianlong (1711–1799). Chinese Emperor 1736–96, of the *Qing dynasty. Grandson of *Kangxi, he abdicated so that his reign would be of identical length. He built the beautiful Chengde (Jehol) summer resort with its famous gardens, was a gifted calligrapher, painter and poet and a major collector of art works. Although he received Lord *Macartney’s mission (1792–94), he sealed China, rejected Westernisation, and banned and burned books. China’s population doubled during his reign.

Qin. Chinese dynasty, formerly called Ch’in (Wade-Giles), the first to unify the country and which ruled 221–206 BCE.

Qin Shihuang (Shi Huang Di) (‘First sovereign emperor’, personal name Ying Zheng) (259–210 BCE). Chinese Emperor 221–210 BCE, founder of the Qin dynasty. From the age of 13 he was King of the state of Qin, based on Shaanxi in the northwest. Through war and diplomacy he defeated six rival states to unify China under his rule. Assisted by his minister *Li Ssu, he imposed an authoritarian regime from his capital Xianyang, near the present city of Xi’an. Writing, weights and measures (even axle widths) were standardised. He built the Great Wall with remarkable speed and efficiency, imposed a rigorous censorship, had 460 scholars burnt alive, and destroyed ancient manuscripts, only preserving those on farming and medicine. He made frequent journeys through his empire and died while travelling. His dynasty fell in 206 BCE to the Western Han. Traditionally regarded as one of the arch villains of Chinese history, his reputation was restored under the Peoples’ Republic. Since the discovery in 1974 of the ‘entombed warriors’, 6000 magnificent terracotta figures of soldiers, with horses and weapons, there has been intense interest in Qin Shihuang. Two more pits full of warriors have been discovered but are not yet open to the public. The huge tumulus built over his tomb has not been excavated.

Qing. Chinese dynasty, formerly called Ch’in (Wade-Giles) or Manchu, which ruled 1644–1912. See *Qianlong, *Cixi, *Pu-yi.

Quadros, Janio da Silva (1917–1992). Brazilian politician. A teacher and lawyer and an able campaigner with an eccentric style, he was Governor of São Paulo 1955–59 and President of Brazil 1961, resigning unexpectedly after seven months and going into exile. He was Mayor of São Paulo 1985–89.

Quant, Dame (Barbara) Mary (1934– ). British designer, born in London. In 1955, she established her first shop, promoted (and named) the miniskirt (1966), used denim in fashion, created her own garments, textiles and cosmetics, won many awards and wrote an autobiography Quant by Quant (1966).

Quarles, Francis (1592–1644). English metaphysical poet. The most successful verse-moralist of his day, Divine Emblems (1635) was the main source of his fame. Some of his epigrams are remembered, e.g. ‘No man is born unto himself alone’, ‘He that begins to live, begins to die’. A royalist in the Civil War, he was plundered by the Roundheads.

Hasan, M., Quarles: A Study of his Life and Poetry. 1966.

Quasimodo, Salvatore (1901–1968). Italian poet, critic and translator, born in Sicily. Trained as an engineer, he taught literature at the Milan Conservatory 1935–64 and translated works by *Aeschylus, *Ovid, *Shakespeare, *Molière and *Neruda. He is considered the leading writer of the Italian Hermeticist movement which was inspired by a symbolical use of language. His later poems are much concerned with ‘la poesia sociale’, expressing a social conscience and a sense of history. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1959.

Tondo, M., Salvatore Quasimodo. 1970.

Quayle, (James) Dan(forth) (1947– ). American Republican politician. Educated at Indiana University, after service in the national guard and as a reporter he became an attorney. He was a US Congressman 1977–79, US Senator 1981–88 and Vice President of the US 1989–93.

Queen, Ellery. Pen name of Frederic Dannay (1905–1982) and Manfred B(ennington) Lee (1905–1971), American authors. They wrote 35 full-length detective novels and hundreds of short stories. ‘Ellery Queen’ is the name not only of the author but of the detective hero.

Queensberry, 9th Marquess of, John Sholto Douglas (1844–1900). Scottish peer, born in Florence. A keen patron of boxing, he devised the rules that bear his name (1865). Oscar *Wilde’s intimacy with his son Lord Alfred *Douglas provoked Queensberry’s fury, and his card, left at Wilde’s club, accusing him of sodomy provoked Wilde, foolishly, to initiate a prosecution for criminal libel, and, when this failed, his own arrest became inevitable. He also pursued Lord *Rosebery. Queensberry was a militant secularist who refused to swear an oath.

Queensberry, William Douglas, 4th Duke of (known as ‘Old Q’) (1725–1810). Scottish peer. He was notorious in his lifetime as an extreme example of worthless and dissolute aristocracy.

Queneau, Raymond (1903–1976). French novelist and poet. Originally a surrealist, he became a master of parody and word play, along Joycean lines, and had a profound influence on young writers, notably Georges *Perec.

Quennell, Sir Peter Courtney (1905–1993). English writer and critic. He edited the Cornhill Magazine 1944–51 and became joint-editor of History Today 1951–79. His works include biographical and critical studies, notably of Lord *Byron, John *Ruskin, *Shakespeare, *Pope and Samuel *Johnson. He also wrote poetry, e.g. Inscription on a Fountain Head (1929).

Quennell, P. C., The Marble Foot. 1976.

Quesnay, François (1694–1774). French physician and economist. Physician to *Louis XV, he was best known for his many books on economics and for his contributions, on agricultural and economic subjects, to the famous Encyclopédie. As the leader of the Physiocrats, he held that land was the ultimate source of all wealth and that to interfere with production or exchange must lead to disaster. His Tableau économique (1758) anticipates to a limited extent the tables of national income and expenditure of today.

Gooch, G. P., Louis XV: The Monarchy in Decline. 1956.

Quetelet, (Lambert) Adolphe Jacques (1796–1864). Belgian statistician, born in Ghent. He showed early mathematical talent and in 1815 he was appointed professor of mathematics at the Collège de Ghent, in 1819 receiving a doctorate from the newly founded university. In the 1820s he developed an interest in astronomy, and began to take a mathematical approach to meteorology. But the work for which he was feted in his own day emerged in the 1830s. He began to develop the theory of mathematical statistics, devised careful tests for the validity of statistical information, and pioneered the use of social statistics for the understanding of the ‘average man’. Quetelet’s belief, that the regularities of human behaviour revealed by weight of data demonstrate that man, too, operates under natural law, was not original (political economists, for example, had always assumed it). But much use was made of Quetelet’s mathematical prestige in attempts to generate an empirical sociology or a theory of man as part of Nature. He pioneered the concept of the normal distribution curve, which became an important tool in later studies of criminal and deviant behaviour.

Quevedo y Villégas, Francisco Gómez de (1580–1545). Spanish writer. He became secretary to *Philip IV (1632) but after opposing *Olivares was imprisoned, which so injured his health that he died soon after release. His works, both in poetry and prose, display a striking contrast between those that are moral or religious in tone and the burlesques noted for their broad humour, puns, slang and exaggerated style. A picaresque novel, La Vida del Buscón Pablos (1626) is perhaps his best known work. His Suenos, translated as Visions, were popular in Stuart England.

Jones, R. O., A Literary History of Spain. 1971.

Quezon y Molina, Manuel Luis (1878–1944). Filipino politician. He fought in the revolt led by Emilio *Aguinaldo against the Spanish occupation. The United States defeated the Spanish, displaced the first Filipino Republic in 1901 and assumed direct rule. Quezon led the nationalists in the Philippine Assembly 1907–16 and campaigned vigorously for independence both as Commissioner to the US 1909–16 and as President of the Philippine Senate 1916–35. On creation of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, Quezon was elected President 1935–44, defeating Aguinaldo. He secured votes for women and welcomed Jewish refugees. After the Japanese invasion (1941–42), he took refuge in the US, established a government in exile in Washington and died in New York State. Quezon City, the capital, was named for him. He was an accomplished pianist and bridge player.

Quiller-Couch, Sir Arthur Thomas (1863–1944). English scholar and anthologist. Of Cornish origin, educated at Oxford, he was a prolific essayist under the pen name ‘Q’. He edited The Oxford Book of English Verse (1900), received a knighthood in 1910 and became the first King Edward VII professor of English literature at Cambridge 1912–44. His 30 novels, many set in Cornwall, have disappeared without trace.

Brittain, F., Quiller-Couch: A Biographical Study of 'Q'. 1947.

Quilter, Roger Cuthbert (1877–1953). English composer. Educated at Eton, he studied music in Frankfurt, wrote songs to poems by *Shakespeare, *Herrick, *Wordsworth, *Shelley and *Tennyson, incidental music to the fairy play Where the Rainbow Ends (1911) and A Children’s Overture (1920) for orchestra.

Quincy, Josiah (1772–1864). American politician. Continuing the tradition of his father, Josiah Quincy (1744–1775) who had been a prominent New England revolutionary, he played an important political role. Elected to the House of Representatives in 1802, he became known as a staunch individualist, strongly opposed to slavery. A US senator 1813–20 and an energetic and reforming mayor of Boston 1823–28, he became head of Harvard University, where his long presidency 1829–45 was marked by liberalism and progress. In 1854 he emerged from retirement to greet the new Republican Party and welcome its denunciation of all compromise with slavery.

Quine, W(illard) V(an Orman) (1908–2000). American philosopher, born in Ohio. Educated at Oberlin College and Harvard, he taught at Harvard from 1933, as a professor 1948–78, and received many academic awards. His publications on set theory and mathematical logic were highly influential. He criticised *Wittgenstein’s linguistic philosophy and urged reconsideration of a relationship between science and metaphysics. Quiddities (1987) and Pursuit of Truth (1989) were aimed at a popular audience.

Quintilian (Marcus Fabius Quintilianus) (c.30–96?). Latin rhetorician, born in Spain. He became famous for his Institutio Oratoria (The Training of an Orator). The theme is wider than the title since it discusses what to say as well as how to say it. It not only advises the would-be orator on everything from dress to figures of speech but provides the basis of an elementary education, and lists authors whose style merits imitation. None of his own speeches, however, has survived. Little is known of his life and the date of his death is uncertain.

Clarke, M. H., Rhetoric at Rome. 1953.

Quiríno y Rivera, Elpídio (1890–1956). Filipino politician. A close ally of *Quezon, he was a Senator 1925–35; 1945–46. He led the Filipino resistance to the Japanese and was first vice president of the independent Philippines 1946–48 and succeeded Manuel Roxas as president 1948–53. Ramon *Magsaysay defeated him in 1953 on the issue of government corruption.

Quiroga, Juan Facundo (1790–1835). Argentinian soldier. He took part in the revolution of 1810 against Spain and soon established himself as caudillo (chieftain) of the Andean provinces. To ensure his local supremacy he was a strong advocate of a federal form of government, which was adopted in 1827. He was notorious for his pitiless suppression of a faction that favoured a unitary state and raised a rebellion. He was assassinated, probably at the instigation of Juan de *Rosas, Governor of the province of Buenos Aires.

Quisling, Vidkun Abraham Lauritz Jonssøn (1887–1945). Norwegian politician. After serving in the army, as an assistant in *Nansen’s relief work in Russia (1920–23), and as a consul, he became Minister for Defence 1931–33 and founded (1933) the National Union Party, a Norwegian version of *Hitler’s Nazi organisation in Germany. After the German invasion (1940) he proclaimed himself head of the Norwegian Government and, though temporarily disowned by the Germans, was appointed as Minister President 1942–45 of a puppet administration by the Germans. After the Nazi defeat he was sentenced to death by a criminal court and shot. His name has become a synonym for a traitor and renegade.

Qutb (Ibrahim Husayn Shadhili), Sayyid (1906–1966). Egyptian Islamist and writer, born in Musha. He became a teacher, bureaucrat, writer and critic, studying in Colorado 1948–50. He became a leader of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, contributing to a radical critique of Western values, based on his extreme distaste for culture and morality in the United States, and reviving concepts of jihad. He wrote a long commentary, In the Shade of the Qu’ran. He opposed the Arab nationalism of Gamal Abdel *Nasser, and was imprisoned 1954–64. Re-arrested in August 1965, after a show trial he was convicted of plotting to overthrow the state and hanged. He is regarded as a spiritual founder of al-Qaida and a major influence on Osama bin *Laden.

Nolan, J. L., What They Saw in America. 2016.

Previous Next