Sidney Lee was born Solomon Lazarus Lee, on 5 December, 1859, in Bloomsbury, London. His father, Lazarus Lee, was a millinery warehouseman. Lee was educated at the City of London School, Cheapside. His obituary in The Times in March 1926, cited the Headmaster of the school, Dr Edwin Abbott, as a key influence on the young scholar. Abbott, best known for his book Flatland (1884), was a keen advocate of the study of English, particularly Elizabethan, literature.

Lee entered Balliol College in 1878. It is popularly believed that while at Balliol he changed his name at the behest of the Master, Benjamin Jowett. There is no evidence for this. Lee graduated in 1882 as Solomon Lazarus Lee, and any work of his published …

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Owens, Rebekah . "Sidney Lee". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 20 March 2014
[, accessed 01 October 2016.]