Penny's poetry pages Wiki

Template:No footnotes

Andrew Lang (1844-1912), from Folk-Lore: A quarterly review of myth, tradition, institution & custom 23 (1912). Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Andrew Lang
Born March 31 1844(1844-Template:MONTHNUMBER-31)
Selkirk, Scottish Borders, Scotland
Died July 20 1912(1912-Template:MONTHNUMBER-20) (aged 68)
Banchory, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Occupation Writer (poet, novelist), Literary critic, Anthropologist
Nationality Scottish
Period 19th century
Genres Children's literature

Andrew Lang (31 March 1844 - 20 July 1912) was a Scottish poet, novelist, literary critic, and contributor to the field of anthropology. He is best known as a collector of folklore and fairy tales.

Life[]

Lang was born in Selkirk on the Scottish Borders. He was the eldest of the 8 children born to John Lang, the town clerk of Selkirk, and his wife Jane Plenderleath (Sellar), who was the daughter of Patrick Sellar, factor to the first duke of Sutherland.

He was educated at Selkirk grammar school, Loretto School, and at the Edinburgh Academy, St Andrews University and at Balliol College, Oxford, where he took a first class in the final classical schools in 1868, becoming a fellow and subsequently honorary fellow of Merton College. As a journalist, poet, critic and historian, he soon made a reputation as one of the most able and versatile writers of the day.

On 17 April 1875 he married Leonora Blanche Alleyne, the youngest daughter of C.T. Alleyne of Clifton and Barbados.

He died of angina pectoris at the Tor-na-Coille Hotel in Banchory, Kincardineshire, survived by his wife. He was buried in the cathedral precincts at St Andrews.

Writing[]

Critical introduction[]

by Thomas Humphry Ward

Andrew Lang was not primarily a poet, but a writer to whom all subjects and many languages seemed to come by nature. He was equally at home in Homer’s Greek, in old French romances, and in many phases of modern literature; at once a serious and scientific disputant, a sound critic, a humorist, and both familiar with a score of other men’s styles and master of a distinctive style of his own. Here we are only concerned with his verse, which one reads with all the greater pleasure because most of it is evidently the relaxation of a worker, almost too busy a worker, in other fields.

A large number of his poems are the direct outcome of his reading and of his prose labours; for example, the volume in which he introduced English readers to the almost forgotten ballads and lyrics in which early French literature abounds, the poems in which he recast thoughts suggested by Homer and Herodotus, such as the fine “Odyssey” sonnet, and those which he consecrated to the heroes of his own time, Gordon above all.

Lang was no politician in the party sense; his leading articles had for the most part nothing to do with politics; but he had a profound belief in national duty, a profound regard for the national honour, and a positive horror of any political faltering or paltering where that honour was at stake. Certain of his poems give an almost fierce expression to that feeling, but the large majority are lighter in subject and in touch. They are the utterances of a man steeped in the best literature of all the ages, and at the same time delighted when he could express his healthy pleasure in nature and physical exercise — cricket, golf, fishing — and still more when he could play upon the fancies and the foibles of his time with that humorous touch that his readers still find so attractive and so inimitable.[1]

Folklore and anthropology[]

File:Rumpelstiltskin.jpg

"Rumpelstiltskin," from Lang's Fairy Tales.

Lang is now chiefly known for his publications on folklore, mythology, and religion. The earliest of his publications is Custom and Myth (1884). In Myth, Ritual and Religion (1887) he explained the "irrational" elements of mythology as survivals from more primitive forms. Lang's Making of Religion was heavily influenced by the 18th century idea of the "noble savage": in it, he maintained the existence of high spiritual ideas among so-called "savage" races, drawing parallels with the contemporary interest in occult phenomena in England. His Blue Fairy Book (1889) was a beautifully produced and illustrated edition of fairy tales that has become a classic. This was followed by many other collections of fairy tales, collectively known as Andrew Lang's Fairy Books. Lang examined the origins of totemism in Social Origins (1903).

Psychical research[]

Lang was one of the founders of "psychical research" and his other writings on anthropology include The Book of Dreams and Ghosts (1897), Magic and Religion (1901) and The Secret of the Totem (1905). He served as President of the Society for Psychical Research in 1911.

Classical scholarship[]

He collaborated with S.H. Butcher in a prose translation (1879) of Homer's Odyssey, and with E. Myers and Walter Leaf in a prose version (1883) of the Iliad, both still noted for their archaic but attractive style. He was a Homeric scholar of conservative views. Other works include Homer And The Study Of Greek found in Essays In Little (1891), Homer and the Epic (1893); a prose translation of The Homeric Hymns (1899), with literary and mythological essays in which he draws parallels between Greek myths and other mythologies; and Homer and his Age (1906).

Historian[]

Lang's writings on Scottish history are characterised by a scholarly care for detail, a piquant literary style, and a gift for disentangling complicated questions. The Mystery of Mary Stuart (1901) was a consideration of the fresh light thrown on Mary, Queen of Scots, by the Lennox manuscripts in the University Library, Cambridge, approving of her and criticising her accusers.

He also wrote monographs on The Portraits and Jewels of Mary Stuart (1906) and James VI and the Gowrie Mystery (1902). The somewhat unfavourable view of John Knox presented in his book John Knox and the Reformation (1905) aroused considerable controversy. He gave new information about the continental career of the Young Pretender in Pickle the Spy (1897), an account of Alestair Ruadh MacDonnell, whom he identified with Pickle, a notorious Hanoverian spy. This was followed by The Companions of Pickle (1898) and a monograph on Prince Charles Edward (1900). In 1900 he began a History of Scotland from the Roman Occupation (1900). The Valet's Tragedy (1903), which takes its title from an essay on Dumas's Man in the Iron Mask, collects twelve papers on historical mysteries, and A Monk of Fife (1896) is a fictitious narrative purporting to be written by a young Scot in France in 1429-1431.

File:Century Mag Andrew Lang at work.png

Andrew Lang at work.

Other writings[]

Lang was active as a journalist in various ways, ranging from sparkling "leaders" for the Daily News to miscellaneous articles for the Morning Post, and for many years he was literary editor of Longman's Magazine; no critic was in more request, whether for occasional articles and introductions to new editions or as editor of dainty reprints.

He edited The Poems and Songs of Robert Burns (1896), and was responsible for the Life and Letters (1897) of JG Lockhart, and The Life, Letters and Diaries (1890) of Sir Stafford Northcote, 1st Earl of Iddesleigh. Lang discussed literary subjects with the same humour and acidity that marked his criticism of fellow folklorists, in Books and Bookmen (1886), Letters to Dead Authors (1886), Letters on Literature (1889), etc.

Recognition[]

His poem "The Odyssey" was included in the Oxford Book of English Verse, 1250-1900.[2]

The Andrew Lang Lectures at the University of St Andrews are named after him.

Publications[]

Main article: Andrew Lang bibliography
Ballades.cover.medium.jpg

Poetry[]

Novels[]

Short fiction[]

Non-fiction[]

Juvenile[]

Translated[]

Edited[]

  • The Blue Fairy Book (illustrated by H.J. Ford et al). London & New York: Longmans, Green, 1889.
  • The Red Fairy Book (illustrated by H.J. Ford et al). London & New York: Longmans, Green, 1890.
  • The Green Fairy Book (illustrated by H.J. Ford et al). London & New York: Longmans, Green, 1892.
  • The True Story Book (illustrated by H.J. Ford). London & New York: Longmans, Green, 1893.
  • The Yellow Fairy Book (illustrated by H.J. Ford et al). London & New York: Longmans, Green, 1894.
  • The Red True Story Book (illustrated by H.J. Ford). London & New York: Longmans, Green, 1895.
  • The Pink Fairy Book (illustrated by H.J. Ford et al). London & New York: Longmans, Green, 1897.
  • The Arabian Nights Entertainments (illustrated by H.J. Ford et al). London & New York: Longmans Green, 1898.
  • The Grey Fairy Book (illustrated by H.J. Ford et al). London & New York: Longmans, Green, 1900.
  • The Violet Fairy Book (illustrated by H.J. Ford et al). London & New York: Longmans, Green, 1901.
  • The Book of Romance (illustrated by H.J. Ford). London & New York: Longmans, Green, 1902.
  • The Crimson Fairy Book (illustrated by H.J. Ford et al). London & New York: Longmans, Green, 1903.
  • The Brown Fairy Book (illustrated by H.J. Ford et al). London & New York: Longmans, Green, 1904.
  • The Red Romance Book (illustrated by H.J. Ford et al). London & New York: Longmans, Green, 1905.
  • Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp, and other stories from the Blue, Brown, and Pink Fairy Books (illustrated by H.J. Ford et al). London & New York: Longmans, Green, 1906.
  • The Olive Fairy Book (illustrated by H.J. Ford et al). London & New York: Longmans, Green, 1907.
  • Tales of Romance: Based on tales in the Book of Romance (illustrated by H.J. Ford & Launcelot Speed). London & New York: Longmans, Green, 1907.
  • The Orange Fairy Book (illustrated by H.J. Ford et al). London & New York: Longmans, Green, 1908.
  • Mrs. Lang, The Book of Princes and Princesses (illustrated by H.J. Ford et al). London & New York: Longmans, Green, 1908.
  • Mrs. Lang, The Red Book of Heroes (illustrated by A. Wallis Mills). London & New York: Longmans, Green, 1909.
  • The Lilac Fairy Book (illustrated by H.J. Hood et al). London & New York: Longmans, Green, 1910.
  • Tales of King Arthur and the Round Table (illustrated by H.J. Hood). London & New York: Longmans, Green, 1912.
  • Fifty Favorite Fairy Tales: Chosen from the colour fairy books of Andrew Lang (selected by Kathleen Lines & Margary Gill). London: Nonesuch Press, 1963.
  • More Favorite Fairy Tales: Chosen from the colour fairy books of Andrew Lang (selected by Kathleen Lines & Margary Gill). New York: F. Watts, 1967.

Letters[]

  • Dear Stevenson: Letters from Andrew Lang to Robert Louis Stevenson; with five letters from Stevenson to Lang (edited by Marysa Demoor). Leuven, Netherlands: Peeters, 1990.


Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy WorldCat.[3]

See also[]

Brahma_by_Andrew_Lang

Brahma by Andrew Lang

References[]

  • Roger Lancelyn Green (1946) Andrew Lang: A critical biography with a short-title bibliography.
  • Antonius P. L. de Cocq (1968) Andrew Lang: A nineteenth century anthropologist (Diss. Rijksuniversiteit Utrecht, The Netherlands). Tilburg: Zwijsen.

Notes[]

  1. from Thomas Humphry Ward, "Critical Introduction: Andrew Lang (1844–1912)," The English Poets: Selections with critical introductions (edited by Thomas Humphry Ward). New York & London: Macmillan, 1880-1918. Web, Mar. 28, 2016.
  2. "The Odyssey". Arthur Quiller-Couch, editor, Oxford Book of English Verse 1250-1900 (Oxford, UK: Clarendon, 1919). Bartleby.com, Web, May 6, 2012.
  3. Search results = au:Andrew Lang, WorldCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, Mar. 28, 2016.

External links[]

Poems
Books
About
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. (view article). (view authors).