On Monday, 4 February, 1901, the Morning Post announced, “Mr. Andrew Lang will be a regular contributor to the Morning Post in future” (2).
Below is a list of the Morning Post columns that appear in a British Newspaper Archive search for Andrew Lang in the 1901 Morning Post. Due to the inaccurate nature of optical character recognition and the fact that Andrew Lang’s columns did not appear on one set day in a week, it is quite possible that some Lang columns from 1901 have not yet been identified. The June 22 column, for instance, did not initially come up in the search: ANDREW LANG was recognized by the OCR as “ANDREW LANO.”
I also include some of the reviews by Lang or of Lang’s work below: these show how he was treated by Morning Post writers and that his name occurred frequently in the paper’s pages, even when he had no column. However, the list below does not comprehensively list every mention of Lang’s book or other periodical writings. Researchers interested in reviews of Lang’s fairy books in the Morning Post, or the Morning Post’s account of Lang’s writing for other periodicals, for instance, will need to do their own BNA searches. I post a list of titles first and then a list with key quotations and summaries of many of the articles.
- “‘Hairy About the Heels.'” Thursday, 28 February 1901, p. 2. (BNA).
- “Fads.” Thursday, 14. Mar. 1901, p. 3. (BNA).
- “The Literary Guardian Angel.” Saturday, 23 Mar. 1901, p. 7. (BNA).
- “Angling and History.” Saturday, 13 Apr. 1901, p. 5. (BNA).
- “The Jeopardy of Greek.” Thursday, 18 Apr. 1901, p. 2. (BNA).
- “Science, Sense, and Spooks.” Saturday, 27 Apr. 1901, p. 7. (BNA).
- “Some Stories and a Theory.” Saturday, 4 May 1901, p. 5. (BNA).
- “Book-Hunting at Home.” Saturday, 11 May 1901, p. 7. (BNA).
- “Novel Openings.” Saturday, 18 May 1901, p. 7. (BNA).
- “Essay on an Essayist.” Saturday, 25 May 1901, p. 8. (BNA).
- “Literary Puffery.” Saturday, 1 June 1901, p. 7. (BNA).
- “Novels with a Purpose.” Saturday, 8 June 1901, p. 7. (BNA).
- “Missing Chapter Competition.” Saturday, 15 June 1901, p. 7.
- “Wine and Song.” Saturday, 22 June 1901, p. 7. (BNA).
- “Prisoners and Captives.” Saturday, 29 June 1901, p. 4. (BNA).
- “France the Mother of Cricket.” Saturday, 6 July 1901, p. 3. (BNA).
- Charles II. Rev. of Charles II by Osmond Alry. Thursday, 11 July, 1901, p. 2. (BNA).
- “Aspects of Cricket.” Saturday, 13 July 1901, p. 3. (BNA).
- ‘Life and Letters.’ Saturday, 27 July 1901, p. 5. (BNA).
- “The Madness of Francis Bacon.” Monday, 5 Aug. 1901, p. 4. (BNA).
- “Recreations of a Commentator.” Saturday, 10 Aug. 1901, p. 2. (BNA).
- “An Echo of the Boom.” Saturday, 17 Aug. 1901, p. 5. (BNA).
- “August Fishing.” Tuesday, 27 Aug. 1901, p. 5. (BNA).
- “Close-Curtained Night.” Saturday, 31 Aug. 1901, p. 5. (BNA).
- “Mr. Yeats on Magic.” Saturday, 7 Sep. 1901, p. 5.
- ‘Fire-Walking.’ Saturday, 21 Sep. 1901, p. 2. (BNA).
- “Parents.” Saturday, 1 Oct. 1901, p. 2. (BNA). [On how artists and authors complain of the public and teachers complain of the parents of their pupils.]
- “Irish Fairies.” Tuesday, 15 Oct. 1901, p. 2. (BNA).
- “My Only Fox Hunt. (A Tale for the Young.)” Monday, 21 Oct. 1901, p. 7. (BNA).
- “Robert Louis Stevenson.” Rev. of Robert Louis Stevenson, by Graham Balfour [Stevenson’s cousin] (Methuen). 18 Oct. 1901, p. 7.
- [“Tennyson.” Saturday 19 Oct. 1901, p. 3. (BNA). A review of Andrew Lang’s Tennyson (Blackwood).
- [“Recent Fiction.” On Tuesday, 22 October, 1901, p. 2, an anonymous reviewer comments, “Clementina, by A. E. W. Mason, with eight excellent illustrations by Bernard Partridge (Methuen 6s.), is dedicated to Mr. Andrew Lang.]
- [“Books of the Day: Queen Mary’s Casket Letters.” (A review of Lang’s The Mystery of Mary Stuart, Longmans.) Rev. by Dr. J.G. M’Pherson, F.R. S. E., Thursday, Oct. 24, 1901.
- “Literary Controversy.” Saturday, 26 Oct. 1901, p. 5. (BNA).
- “The Book Hunter To-day.” Saturday, 2 Nov. 1901, p. 3. (BNA).
- “Bonny Dundee and Bloody Claverse.” Saturday, 16 Nov. 1901, p. 4. (BNA.)
- [On Friday, 22 Nov. 1901, the Morning Post reports, “Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Lang have left London for Alleyne House, St. Andrews, for the winter” (5).]
- “Bewitched.” Saturday, 30 Nov. 1901, p. 5 (BNA).
- “Cricket and Waterloo.” Tuesday, 10 Dec. 1901, p. 5. (BNA). [June 18, 1815 was the rainy Battle of Waterloo; June 20 was the cricket match at Lord’s, probably on a sodden field.]
- “Literary Quarrels.” Monday, 16 Dec. 1901, p. 3. (BNA). [On Robert Louis Stevenson]
- “Legal Perplexities.” [Stealing Mummies.] Saturday, 21 Dec. 1901, p. 5. (BNA).
[The article above resulted in an editorial from a lawyer that was published on Christmas Eve, p. 7. See summary below.]
- “What is a Jingo?” [Harrison and Lang on Tennyson.] Saturday, 28 Dec. 1901, p. 6 (BNA). Lang responds to Frederic Harrison’s claim that Lang is a “Jingo” because of Lang’s remarks on Tennyson’s poems. ]
1901 Morning Post articles: Summaries and Quotations
“‘Hairy About the Heels.'” Thursday, 28 February 1901, p. 2. (BNA). [On (not) being a gentleman, and the obsession with gentility: “How far does the ancient and very natural prejudice in favour of ‘gentrice’ now exist? Let us examine, as a historical document, Lady Ridley’s novel. Three hundred years hence a historian will base a picture, not very favourable, of our society and social ideas on our novels. He will infer that we draw a strong line between men who . are hairy as to their heels and their better born and bred contemporaries whose heels are—may I say bald?” This piece by Lang is shorter than later Morning Post columns, not taking up a full column.]
“Fads.” Thursday, 14. Mar. 1901, p. 3. (BNA). [“The makers of the English dictionary may have some difficulty in defining ‘fad.’ The word is useful, for it enables us who employ it to put the person to whom we attribute the fad out of court. ‘He has a fad,’ or ‘That is a fad of his,’ we observe, and all present, without asking any more questions, have an agreeable sense of superiority. A fad appears to be something between a hobby and a heresy.” Scientists are often right in their fads. Lang writes on the science of religion: “my fad is certainly not worth the trouble of scientific martyrdom: some day or other the fad will quietly slip into manuals of popular science and become the orthodox thing. In the same manner, ten years ago, what is called ‘crystal-gazing’ was the wildest of fads. . . . But now one takes up Professor Jastrow’s new book, Facts and Fables of Psychology, and behold crystal-gazing is formally accepted as one of the facts, and that by an orthodox psychologist. [Lang also discusses Grant Allen, blots of ink, hypnotism, Bacon-Shakespeare, and J. G. Frazer]. “The moral is that the faddist ought not to despair, but he will do wisely if he does not make himself a bore to mankind.”]
“The Literary Guardian Angel.” Saturday, 23 Mar. 1901, p. 7. (BNA). [Lang discusses his literary guardian angel, which keeps him from opening books he is sure not to like (books of poetry reviewed by the author’s friends, M.M. Maeterlinck, Ibsen, Tolstoi, Nietzsche, modern American historical novels (The Choir Invisible, David Harum, published love letters, “all novels breathing of a purpose,” Coventry Patmore, Yarrow, the Excursion, John Inglesant): “The demon has not attended me from childhood, as, I believe, was the case with Socrates. In early years he let me rush, unwarned, on volumes which were tracts in the least artificial disguise, or on histories of the distressing Merovingian kings. He did not naturally shy from Télémaque, nor lift his voice against The Fairchild Family or Sandford and Merton, both of them decidedly books with a purpose and the attendant disagreeable details. Indeed, I never heard the demon speak out loud and clear till John Inglesant appeared. Then he said “No!” and to this day I do not know why. . . . “If I found myself in ‘some boundless contiguity of space,’ a lodge in a vast wilderness, absolutely devoid of any printed matter except John Inglesant, I would try a fall with my demon, and adventure myself on the romance. But in a lodge, a shooting lodge at least, there are usually a dozen copies of Round the Bonny Kailyard, against which the demon hath hitherto set his fist, and one is unlikely to meet John, and nothing but John. . . . The demon is not invariably right. One eminent modern novelist he protested against for years, but he was wrong. Having studied the demon as he works in others I often find him wrong.”]
“Angling and History.” Saturday, 13 Apr. 1901, p. 5. (BNA). [“No less an authority than Mr. George Moore has informed the public that I catch no fish; and, indeed, there is much truth in the remark. But I do come across a great many scenes of interest in the out-of-the-way places where delusive hope guides the fisherman. . . . Fishing Loch Shiel and the River Shiel, you walk in the steps of Prince Charles, and perhaps of St. Columba. . . . Moving south to Loch Awe and the River Awe, you may not be rewarded by many trout or salmon, but at least you fish under the hillside where Robert Bruce made a feint on the Macdougal front while Douglass took them in the rear and drove the clan into the fordless river . . . . Down in the south, on the border streams, there is history in every ford, and ballads haunt every burn: from Till, flowing under Flodden Edge, to Tala Linn, where the Covenanters quarelled among themselves, and Newark, where the Douglasses dwelt, while the Scotts of Buccleugh were but small lairds little regarded. . . . English trout streams are not so rich in historical associations. . . . In proportion as they are scant of history, they are rich in trout, large trout. . . . The practical angler will prefer England with fish, to Scotland with memories.”]
“The Jeopardy of Greek.” Thursday, 18 Apr. 1901, p. 2. (BNA). [Discussion of Auden’s article on teaching Greek in Blackwood’s.] “The Greek language, like the Church, the Empire, and other cherished possessions, is perpetually ‘in danger.’ One is always nervous about Greek. The democracy do not value Greek scholarship at a pin’s fee. The middle classes clamour for French and German, living tongues in which commercial transactions can veritably be conducted. This is very natural, but then the sons of the middle classes simply decline to learn French and German. They call the master ‘Froggy,’ and taunt him about the Battle of Waterloo. You may suppress Greek as soon as you please, but that will not make boys learn modern languages. Were I to counsel the commercial parent, I would advise him to send his offspring to Germany as waiters. There they would acquire the languages at inconsiderable expense. . . . Schoolmasters and professors defend the study by which they live, though Lord Rosebery told the students of Galsgow that Greek is ‘practically useless,’ as Mr. Auden quotes him in Blackwood’s Magazine. . . . Let us remember that Mr. Ruskin denounced the poetry of Coleridge as ‘useless,’ and indeed I do not know that any poetry is useful. Many things are agreeable, Greek among them, which have no value in the eyes of utilitarians like Lord Rosebery. I know no use in the study of Greek, except as what they call ‘mental discipline.’ Naturally inaccurate, I would be indefinitely more so if I had possessed the spirit of St. Augustine and declined to be taught the language of Homer. . . . Meanwhile, however great the pleasure to be derived from Greek literature, the undeniable fact is that 80 per cent. at least of the boys who spend four or five years over Greek do not learn to read it. Their time is utterly wasted. This is true of the time of most school boys. They do not learn anything at all. History is a dead letter to them. Of English literature they only know the dismal ‘Clarendon Press Notes,’ and as to modern languages, any parent can try them over a chapter of Dumas–if the parent can trust his own French to that extent. However, modern languages would be ‘useful’ if they were known, and adult mankind, forgetful of its own boyhood, keeps believing that modern languages will be learned if they are taught.
“Mr. Auden maintains, and with truth, that boys can be taught Greek, and I may add that, if properly taught, Greek would be the least unpopular of their lessons. It has prestige, which, at English schools, French and German have not. The one foreign author in which boys naturally take delight is Homer. Once entered at Homer, our young barbarians like him.”
“Science, Sense, and Spooks.” Saturday, 27 Apr. 1901, p. 7. (BNA). [“Turning over the pages of Professor Huxley’s Biography, I find that he was harried at one time (not by myself, I think) in connection with book of mine called Cock Lane and Common Sense. A little question of logic arose, but the Professor pleasantly said that if I would leave to him the common sense, I might keep the Cock Lane ghost. I have no particular use for that mendacious apparition, but common sense I value. An example of sense, not, perhaps, quite adequate, is provided in Dr. Andrew Wilson’s article on ‘Hallucinations’ in Harper’s Magazine for May (which Lang discusses).”]
“Some Stories and a Theory.” Saturday, 4 May 1901, p. 5. (BNA).
“Book-Hunting at Home.” Saturday, 11 May 1901, p. 7. (BNA).
“Novel Openings.” Saturday, 18 May 1901, p. 7. (BNA).
“Essay on an Essayist.” Saturday, 25 May 1901, p. 8. (BNA).
“Literary Puffery.” Saturday, 1 June 1901, p. 7. (BNA).
“Novels with a Purpose.” Saturday, 8 June 1901, p. 7. (BNA).
“Missing Chapter Competition.” Saturday, 15 June 1901, p. 7.
“Wine and Song.” Saturday, 22 June 1901, p. 7. (BNA).
“Prisoners and Captives.” Saturday, 29 June 1901, p. 4. (BNA).
“France the Mother of Cricket.” Saturday, 6 July 1901, p. 3. (BNA).
Charles II. Rev. of Charles II by Osmond Alry. Thursday, 11 July, 1901, p. 2. (BNA).
“Aspects of Cricket.” Saturday, 13 July 1901, p. 3. (BNA).
‘Life and Letters.’ Saturday, 27 July 1901, p. 5. (BNA). [“There must be some short way with the “Life and Letters” plague. Long ago Tennyson spoke his mind about it in verse, but a poet’s Life and Letters on that occasion supplied the ‘stock’ of the usual potage in two volumes. Things have grown worse and worse, ‘For now the dentist cannot die / And leave his foreceps as of old, / But round him, ere he scarce be cold, / Begins the vast biography’—the Life and Letters of Mr. Seraunch. . . . “With the real man, with the actual Seraunch, we never become acquainted. I cannot say that I want to know more of him myself. Still, he too, if unflinchingly examined, is, or was, un document humain. We have, all of us, got into scrapes, and these are interesting, and about these the authors of Lives and Letters never, or hardly ever, tell us anything. Yet our scrapes, when we got into them, how we bore ourselves when in, how we got out again, are necessary to be known if our inner natures are to be known, and if they are not, why publish Lives and Letters? . . . . A great deal that is of the essence of a man’s life is never told, and a great deal of what is utterly commonplace is usually narrated. The surface events of our existence greatly resemble each other: these in Lives and Letters are exhibited in needless length. The inner verity perpetually escapes me, thanks to the decent habitual reticence of literary executors. These reticences I esteem and commend. By all means do not ‘tear the heart before the crowd,’ like the heart of Keats, of of more recent victims of biographical or editorial indiscretion. Every human heart must exhibit a picture of incalculable interest, but how rarely ought the veil to be withdrawn! In the case of the usual ‘biographers’ (as Mr. Gladstone called them0, the error does not lie in withholding intimate facts, but in unrolling endless lengths of facts which are commonplaces. The beginners in the modern manner of biography, Boswell and Johnson, were concerned with heroes about whom almost nothing could be told that was not interesting. Moreover, next to nothing could be told that was not fit and proper to be known. But when the biographer has merely the man of moderate note to deal with, then the profusion of pointless letters and banal detail chokes the little in the life that was worthy of record. [Comments on the idea that people don’t write letters as well as they used to: “‘Has any of my readers,’ asks Mr. Saintsbury, ‘many, or any correspondent, like Scott or like Southey, like Lamb or like Fitzgerald, like Madam de Sévigné or like Lady Mary?’ Probably few of us have such correspondents, for the many obvious reasons known to all men, such as the newspapers, which give the news, and the absorption of people who can write in writing for a livelihood. Yet, good letter-writers are not extinct, or were not extinct so recently as in the life-time of Mr. R. L. Stevenson and Mr. T. E. Brown, the poet of the Isle of Man. . . . I am not readily to be persuaded that the art of letter-writing is dead. But, alas, the every-day ‘biographer’ is not a good letter-writer himself, nor has he good letter-writers among his friends. . . . The best remedy is that of Thackeray and Matthew Arnold: the living man may prohibit the writing of his biography, if he thinks of it in time.”
“The Madness of Francis Bacon.” Monday, 5 Aug. 1901, p. 4. (BNA).
“Recreations of a Commentator.” Saturday, 10 Aug. 1901, p. 2. (BNA).
“An Echo of the Boom.” Saturday, 17 Aug. 1901, p. 5. (BNA).
“August Fishing.” Tuesday, 27 Aug. 1901, p. 5. (BNA).
“Close-Curtained Night.” Saturday, 31 Aug. 1901, p. 5. (BNA).
“Mr. Yeats on Magic.” Saturday, 7 Sep. 1901, p. 5.
‘Fire-Walking.’ Saturday, 21 Sep. 1901, p. 2. (BNA).
“Parents.” Saturday, 1 Oct. 1901, p. 2. (BNA). [On how artists and authors complain of the public and teachers complain of the parents of their pupils. On the word “educationist,” which was evidently in use, but which Lang dislikes. On the ways in which parents interfere at schools, their desire to avoid paying for textbooks and to have their own children promoted, regardless of skill. On the many things they have forgotten since they were children. “Now about education the average parent knows nothing. If he has forgotten what he used to fail to eat, much more does he forget what he used to fail to learn. . . .I have credible information that in a wealthy and industrious region of this realm parents regard four shillings and sixpence as the maximum of what ought to be annually expended on school books. . . . Of course if schoolmasters get a commission on the school books, or, obtaining them with a great discount, charge them to parents at the market rate, or if they compile bad books themselves and insist on their use . . . then the remonstrating parent deserves our full and eager sympathy. . . . One would be with him, again, if he kicked against the infinite dreariness of school history books, and the odious Whig opinions which their authors usually strive to impart. . . .]
“Irish Fairies.” Tuesday, 15 Oct. 1901, p. 2. (BNA). [“Some years ago I happened to visit, in the holidays, the West of Ireland, the English side of the Northumbrian Border, and the West of Scotland. In each district I made the acquaintance of old peasants and others who told me tales of goblin, ghost, and fairy within sight of a fairy fort in County Sligo, the scene of the massacre of Glencoe, and on the field of Flodden. The stories were much of the same sort in all three regions, and all were matters of actual belief. But the Argyllshire anecdotes were more about the second sign and divination than about fairies, while the Irish tales were chiefly about fairies.” Jeremiah Curtin’s Tales of the Irish Fairies (Alfred Nutt).]
“My Only Fox Hunt. (A Tale for the Young.)” Monday, 21 Oct. 1901, p. 7. (BNA). [“‘He is unworthy to wear the human form,’ a young lady once remarked to me concerning a most exemplary Baronet of ancient family and literary tastes. ‘Why?’ I inquired. ‘He does not hunt,’ said the lady gloomily. Being myself under the same condemnation, I allowed the subject to drop. . . . Yet I once went foxhunting (on foot) with the Duke of Buccleuch’s Hounds, and certainly we had a curious day. The other pursuers, on foot, were Alice, aged twenty, Guy, aged fourteen, and Tim, aged nine. We were all four on the side of the fox. This was hideous treason, the rest of the family being devoted to the sport, in which two of them, mounted, were taking part. How to aid the fox by giving him information, and by not giving information to his enemies, was all our thought.”]
“Robert Louis Stevenson.” Rev. of Robert Louis Stevenson, by Graham Balfour [Stevenson’s cousin] (Methuen). 18 Oct. 1901, p. 7. “To students of Mr. Stevenson, interested in his unique character and thwarted vagrant life, the new book can tell little that is new. To be sure, people who have not read the Edinburgh Edition [of Stevenson’s works, with Stevenson’s family memoir] will here find several novelties . . . . What Stevenson would have become if his education had not been to the last degree desultory and casual, it is impossible to guess . . . . I first met Mr. Stevenson, with Mr. Colvin, at Mentone. I admit that I looked on him as a clever, but probably unsatisfactory ‘aesthete.’. . . Occasionally, and at his best [Stevenson] wrote with speed, but at other times he corrected and re-wrote as much and as often as Flaubert This has never seemed to me a merit in itself. It was never the practice of Shakespeare or of Gautier, both, in their way, ‘stylists.’ One rather admires the authors who, knowing what they have to say, say it, and are done with it. Mr. Balfour speaks as if in the Seventies authors in England were indifferent to style. Mr. Froude, Mr. Ruskin, and Mr. Pater, among others, do not come under this condemnation. . . . Mr. Balfour, very properly, disappoints readers who clamour for more ‘revelations.’ Mr. Stevenson’s conduct, or rather, certain ‘starts’ of his, are not very intelligible, and are left there. . . . Mr. Stevenson was almost the only man of genius with whom I ever had the good fortune to be fairly well acquainted, though I was never one of his more intimate friends. I think that, without trenching on due reserve, Mr. Balfour might have added a few telling touches to his portrait. However, it is not my business to try to add them. Had there been a Bozzy in Mr. Stevenson’s circle, then posterity would have been fortunate.”
[“Tennyson.” Saturday 19 Oct. 1901, p. 3, has a review of Andrew Lang’s Tennyson (Blackwood), stating that “[A] new book on Tennyson, indispensable though it be to a series of Modern English Writers (which, by the way, is published by a Scottish firm, and is to include a volume on Stevenson, thus vindicating the generic significance of ‘English’) can add little to our knowledge either of the poet or of his works. It is therefore a subject for congratulation that the volume has been entrusted to Mr. Andrew Lang, who belongs to the race of critics, with Matthew Arnold at their head, who do not shrink from importing controversial literary matter into the books that they write. He breaks many a stalwart lance with Mr. Frederic Harrison and the Positivists. . . . Mr. Lang, though a ‘loyal Tennysonian’ by confession and by internal evidence, is likewise a discriminating admirer.” Compare this review with Lang’s 28 December 1901 article.]
[“Recent Fiction.” On Tuesday, 22 October, 1901, p. 2, an anonymous reviewer comments, “Clementina, by A. E. W. Mason, with eight excellent illustrations by Bernard Partridge (Methuen 6s.), is dedicated to Mr. Andrew Lang, ‘as a token of much friendship.’ It is no part of a reviewer’s duty to discuss the dedicatory page, but we may say without impertinence that the contents of the book would better suit an inscription to Mr. Anthony Hope. For though King James of England is historical, and King Rudolf of Ruritania fictitious, we doubt if Clementina would have been written without the romances of Flavia as a precedent.”]
[“Books of the Day: Queen Mary’s Casket Letters.”(The Mystery of Mary Stuart, Longmans.) Rev. by Dr. J.G. M’Pherson, F.R. S. E., Thursday, Oct. 24, 1901. “We are fortunate in having in Mr. Andrew Lang a critic who has so carefully gone into all the details of the half-dozen eventful years in the middle of the Sixteenth Century. Enthusiastically devoted to folklore, mystery, dreams, ghosts, and psychical research, he would not at first have appeared to be a candid, judicious, and trustworthy authority; but his genius is far beyond these amusements. He has in these volumes shown a historical grasp of his subject which gives evidence of his powers to be a great historian. In fact, the minuteness of his detail reminds one of Sir James Ramsay’s elaborate carefulness in describing the Wars of the Roses. . . . Mr. Lang has taken infinite pains to exhaust every source of information on the subject. The admirable volume gives full evidence of his fine literary skill: the maps, portraits, and letters throw as full light on the matter as could be obtained, and the aurea mediocritas he has judiciously aimed at has been carried out with notable skill and commendable candour. His opinion will be respected by historians for many a day.”]
“Literary Controversy.” Saturday, 26 Oct. 1901, p. 5. (BNA). “The celebrated Buffon never replied to a critic or opponent, and Mr. Matthew Arnold applauded his reticence. Mr. Arnold appears to have thought that he himself practiced this dignified reserve. But, as a matter of fact, if his old friends of the Daily Telegraph hit at Mr. Arnold he generally parried neatly and riposted with elegance and rapidity. The blows of Mr. F. W. Newman he stopped and countered heavily, falling, as it were, on Mr. Newman at the ropes.” Lang also discusses Darwin, the Man in the Iron Mask before saying, “For my own part I think that controversy clears the air, and that, viewed in the light of the objections even of a mistaken opponent, a person may find that his original statements need modification. A writer has an idea, a theory–perhaps an excellent idea, a very reasonable theory. It has been fostered in his mind till to his mind it seems radiantly clear, beautifully rounded. But it is attacked, perhaps quite unjustly. The defects observed by the adversary may not be real defects; the adversary may have greatly misconceived the theory. But this by itself tends to suggest that the theory has not been stated with perfect lucidity. . . . In these circumstances (especially as the majority of the public take an author’s ideas from his reviewers, not from his books) I cannot see why the author should not reply, should not make his meaning quite clear, and should not repudiate once more the opinions erroneously fixed on him. But to do this is to ‘enter on controversy,’ which is ‘unwise’ and ‘undignified.’ Yet Mr. Herbert Spencer, for example, not to mention Professor Huxley, has dealt greatly in controversy. I fear that I do not understand, for instance, the points at issue between Mr. Spencer and Herr Weissmann. But each of them, after controversy, must better understand not only his opponent’s ideas but his own; at least that ought to be the case. Certainly their readers must understand the subject better. Additional arguments, fresh ideas, must be struct out like sparks in the contact of wits, just as new ideas occur in conversation. The critic, so abundantly condemned, cannot but enable the original author to see his own system in quite a new and unfamiliar perspective. The critic is the power that does ‘ . . . . the giftie gie us / To see ourselves as others see us.’ Burns wished that some power would confer this benefit.” Lang goes on to discuss a sense of humor regarding critics and the German response to his own anthropological work.]
“The Book Hunter To-day.” Saturday, 2 Nov. 1901, p. 3. (BNA). “Mr. Slater has just published (Elliot Stock) his “Book Prices Current,” the book-buyer’s vade-mecum. The works catalogued are such as were sold by public auction. The prices tell the collector the fluctuations in his stocks, now up, now down. I pretend to no sumpathy with the speculative collector who buys books, not because he needs them, or ‘fancies’ them, but with an eye to selling on a rising market. . . . Even I am (in manuscript only) a popular author in America. A bookseller in that land of dollars offers a MS. of mine in morocco (an introduction to some book or other) for £25. If, then, the compositor will but cherish the beautiful manuscripts from my hands [Lang has notoriously bad handwriting] it would seem that affluence awaits them across the Atlantic wave. In pen and ink, I rule high among these collectors; in printing ink the vast public of the States ‘has no use for me.’ Yes, they have a use, to send me all my published works in a perfect mountain of a parcel, asking me to write appropriate autograph reflections on the fly-leaves. Let authors take an oat and keep it with an equal mind, an oath never to touch these abominable parcels, never to return them.”
“Bonny Dundee and Bloody Claverse.” Saturday, 16 Nov. 1901, p. 4. (BNA.) “That officer, so much admired by Wordsworth and Mr. Ruskin, is called Bloody Claverse by those who detest his memory, and Bonny Dundee by those who love, like Worsdworth, Mr. Ruskin, and the young lady” (a stranger who called at Lang’s house and asked him to write a book about Dundee). Hay Fleming’s edition Six Saints of the Covenant, by Patrick Walker (Hodder and Stoughton), “who took the ‘Bloody’ view.”]
[On Friday, 22 Nov. 1901, the Morning Post reports, “Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Lang have left London for Alleyne House, St. Andrews, for the winter” (5).]
“Bewitched.” Saturday, 30 Nov. 1901, p. 5 (BNA). “My character for sturdy unbelief in everything which I cannot explain has long been totally lost. Superstition marks me for her own, and a bad attack has set in. I think there is something in witchcraft! Do not at once abandon me as a lost soul. Not yet do I believe that witches can raise tempests, or fly on broomsticks, or change themselves into hares, and I am absolutely certain that they can do no harm to sheep or cattle, or man or child by ‘overlooking’ them with ‘the evil eye.’ . . . But I am tempted to think that, by putting a certain amount of nervous strain, by way of threats and terror, on women or children or what we call ‘hysterical’ temperament, witches can make their unlucky victims play pranks of which, perhaps, the victims themselves are not fully and normally conscious. Almost all the world admits that as much as this can be done to people, weak-minded people, who have been hypnotised.” “Mr. James Payn (whose mind was not feeble) admitted that, at Cambridge, he had been the sport of a mesmerist.” Madame Card at Oxford, A Mrs. Brown and a Mrs. Green, “rival witches” and Mrs. Green’s maidservant (who played pranks); Miss Florence O’Neal’s Devonshire Idylls; the Wesley disturbances, Hetty (the daughter), and the servants; a 15 Nov. 1901 report in a provincial daily paper of a 13 Nov. interview with a Mrs. Jones (pseudonym), who reports stones flying through her window and her curtains catching fire. “To the student of anthropology the uniformity of the symptoms is the interesting fact.”
“Cricket and Waterloo.” Tuesday, 10 Dec. 1901, p. 5. (BNA). [June 18, 1815 was the rainy Battle of Waterloo; June 20 was the cricket match at Lord’s, probably on a sodden field. The late Bishop Wordsworth, of St. Andrews, who discussed cricket with the child Lang in the same garden where John Knox “used to walk in his furred gown, bidding the college boys remain staunch Presbyterians,” cricket in the early nineteenth century, The Cricketer’s Guide, by William Lambert. Lang says the evidence is that the first edition was published in 1816.]
“Literary Quarrels.” Monday, 16 Dec. 1901, p. 3. (BNA). [On Robert Louis Stevenson: “Like the rest of the public I have read a recent estimate of the late Mr. Robert Louis Stevenson with regret. It is not my business to advocate the cause of a friend when he is blamed with reference to such relations as never existed between him and me, and in regard to circumstances of which I have no knowledge. We never, as it were, lay in each other’s bosoms. We never heard the chimes at midnight together, nor were comrades of ‘the wild Prince and Poins.’ We never conferred benefits each other, unless little presents of books or curiosities are benefits. We never quarrelled, and I daresay that was partly because we were never sufficiently intimate. Quarrels, when not caused by rivalry or by misunderstandings in business or about money, appear to arise out of too great intimacy. Liberties are taken, and at last are resented. . . . Without defending, then, the character of a friend whom even now I almost daily miss, as that character was displayed in circumstances unknown to me, I think that I ought to speak of him as I found him. Perhaps our sympathy was mainly intellectual. Constantly do those who knew him desire to turn to him, to communicate with him, to share with him the pleasure of some idea, some little discovery about men or things in which he would have taken pleasure, increasing our own by the gaiety of his enjoyment, the brilliance of his appreciation. We may say, as Scott said at the grave of John Ballantyne, that he has taken with him half the sunlight out of our lives. That he was sympathetic and interested in the work of others (which I understand has been denied) I have reason to know. . . . Genius is the survival into maturity of the inspiration of childhood, and Stevenson is not the only genius who has retained from childhood something more than its inspiration. Other examples readily occur to the memory–in one way Byron, in another Tennyson. None of us is perfect: I do not want to erect an immaculate clay-cold image of a man, in marble or in sugar-candy. But I will say that I do not remember ever to have heard Mr. Stevenson utter a word against any mortal, friend or foe. Even in a case where he had, or believed himself to have, received some wrong, his comment was merely humorous.” Lang also mentions the following: Graham Balfour’s biography. Leigh Hunt’s book on Byron: “the two men placed themselves in an impossible situation of intimacy, and Leigh Hunt, unable to keep his own counsel, inflicted an irreparable wound on his own fame.” Hume and Rousseau. “Then we have Voltaire, who I verily believe quarrelled for the fun of the thing.” Frederick the Great. Pope, who “was so little, and so weak, and so ailing that ‘scorn is allowed as part of his defect.'” The Elizabethans who “Like Captain Shandon (I think it was Shandon) . . . found [quarreling] ‘such easy writing.’ It is easy writing, and that is the curse of it, and that is why penmen have an ill name for quarrellers, and for saying things that most people leave, if not unspoken, at least unwritten.” “Theocritus and Apollonius Rhodius; Bavius and Maevius, . . . the enemies of Catullus and the Dunces of Pope,” Homer and Margites.]
“Legal Perplexities.” [Stealing Mummies.] Saturday, 21 Dec. 1901, p. 5. (BNA). “We have lately learned that there is no property in corpses au naturel, though perhaps there may be room for doubt when the corpse is a mummy, and therefore in a sense a manufactured article. For this reason and others it would be distinctly inadvisable to steal a mummy from the British Museum or elsewhere. You could not steal the mummy case, of course, with any hope of escaping the law; and in the mere mummy itself there are bound to be spices and other undeniable articles of property.”
[The article above resulted in an editorial to the Morning Post that was published on Christmas Eve, p. 7. “To the Editor of the Morning Post. Sir,—Referring to the last paragraph of Mr. Andrew Lang’s article under this heading in your issue of Saturday, if he will refer to the case of ‘Williams v. Williams’ (20 Ch. D.. p. 659) he will see that it was there held, in circumstances fairly similar to those he cites, that there is no property in a dead body, but the executors of the deceased have the right to the possession of the body and that their duty is to bury it. Having this legal right there is no difficulty in enforcing it.—Yours, &c., Lincoln’s Inn, Dec. 23. W. H. P. Gibson.]
“What is a Jingo?” [Harrison and Lang on Tennyson.] Saturday, 28 Dec. 1901, p. 6 (BNA). Lang responds to Frederic Harrison’s claim that Lang is a “Jingo” because of Lang’s remarks on Tennyson’s poems. Lang discusses the importance of defining one’s terms, the frequency with which literary critics misunderstand one another’s meanings in controversies [and his occasional in-person meetings with the controversialist that proved that fact], the fact that he cannot “rate Tennyson’s battle pieces and patriotic pieces very high, except the ‘Ode on the Duke of Wellington,’ and his opinion on patriotism in other English poets: “I hinted that Shakespeare, Drayton, Scott, and Wordsworth were ‘Jingoes’ if Tennyson was. Mr. Harrison declares that he enjoys their ‘grand patriotic outbursts.’ Now, is this consistent?” Lang also discusses his own feelings about England as a Scot: “With real emotion one welcomes [Harrison’s] assurance that he ‘is quite as fond of Old England as any Scot, or even a foreign Jew from the Transvaal.’ . . . . As to the feeling of the Scot, since my country gave to England a line of Kings—Old England seems incapable of growing its own Kings—we Scots have a fellow feeling towards our ancient enemy. Our Kings were not appreciated, and fell in attempting to introduce religious toleration. . . . This, like the alien Hebrew from Africa, is a digression, Scot as I am, I do not think that an Englishman should be an Anti-Englander or a Frenchman an Anti-Frenchman (he never is) . . . or, generally, that any person should always be against his own country.” Lang says if Harrison held his opinions in the time of Henry V (who is enjoyable in Shakespeare but in the wrong) and Henry VI (a play whose jingoism Lang reads with shame), Harrison “ought to have held Pro-French and Pro-Scottish meetings, and ‘got knocked on the head for his labours.’ My sympathies, as a Scot, would have been entirely with him, but I do not think that I would have attended his meetings or meeting: there would not have been more than one with him in the chair. A cloth yard shaft would have silenced him: no argument—he would have been morally in the right—but our ancestors really were ‘Jingoes.'” (Compare with the review of Lang’s Tennyson on 19 Oct. 1901.)]
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