This site is dedicated to the recovery of Andrew Lang’s writings, particularly Lang’s periodical writings. Although print-on-demand publishing, the publication of two editions of selections from Lang’s critical writings, and the digitization of many Victorian periodicals have made Andrew Lang’s writing more accessible today than it has ever been since his death, the volume of Lang’s work and his occasionally shifting views can make him a difficult critic with whom to engage. It is hoped that this site will make Lang’s work more approachable for scholars and other interested readers.
Andrew Lang (1844–1912) was a polymath. Educated at the University of St Andrews, the University of Glasgow (for a year, in order to earn the Snell Exhibition to Balliol College), and in Oxford, he was a fellow at Merton College from 1868–1875, when he moved to London and took up journalism. (He married Leonora Blanche Alleyne at this time, but Merton had already rescinded the policy that fellows be unmarried.) Lang is best known today either for the twelve color fairy books that bear his name or for his periodical writings, though he was also a poet, a translator of Homer, a historian and biographer, a scholar with interests in myth and anthropology, and the author of various works of fiction including his serious fairy tale, The Gold of Fairnilee (1888); three fairy tales written in the tradition of Thackeray’s The Rose and the Ring: (Prince Prigio , Prince Ricardo , and Tales of a Fairy Court ); his “shilling dreadful,” The Mark of Cain (1886); The World’s Desire (1890), co-written with Rider Haggard, Parson Kelly (1899), a Jacobite novel co-written with A. E. W. Mason that has an interesting fictionalized portrayal of Lady Wortley Montagu; The Disentanglers (1902); and various parodies of popular works (perhaps the best of which is He, co-written with Walter Herries Pollock). Lang was also a Gifford Lecturer on Natural Theology, an important member of the Folklore Society (founded 1878) and president in 1888–1889 (Dorson 203), and the president of the Society for Psychical Research in 1911. He was an ardent defender of Romance, most notably in his “Realism and Romance” in the Contemporary Review (Nov. 1887) but also in many other articles and book prefaces. The Andrew Lang Lecture at the University of St Andrews was founded in Lang’s honor; the most famous Andrew Lang Lecture was given by J.R.R. Tolkien on March 8, 1939 and revised into Tolkien’s “On Fairy-stories.”
I would like to thank the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) in Taiwan and the University of St Andrews Library Visiting Scholars Scheme for funding the archival visits necessary to recover Lang’s undigitized journalism in The Morning Post. MOST has also funded other aspects of my Lang research (grant 104-2410-H-027-005).
This site is still very much in progress. Please check back to see later additions.