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Notes and Queries Current Issue





Published: Fri, 24 Nov 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Last Build Date: Fri, 08 Dec 2017 14:54:22 GMT

 



Books Received

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Valerie Babb, A History of The African American Novel. Pp. xii + 486. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2016. £34.99 (ISBN 978 1 107 06172 9).



Good Evans. William Blake and the Evans Family of Print Sellers

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 00:00:00 GMT

THE printselling firm (fl. 1820–58) founded by Edward Evans offered more books written by Blake during Blake’s lifetime (eight) than all other printsellers, booksellers, and auctioneers combined (five).11 Of these, all the copies offered by Evans were coloured, whereas his rivals offered only two-colour copies before Blake’s death in 1827.22 The Evans firm was very important in the years before Gilchrist’s biography of Blake (1863) established him as one of the greatest artists, engravers, and poets of his time.



Three Echoes in Housman

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 00:00:00 GMT

THE following supplements the notes in my editions of The Poems of A. E. Housman (1997) and The Letters of A. E. Houseman (2007).
  • ‘Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries’. Housman explained in a letter of 14 November 1927 to the Richards Press that ‘it was not the German Emperor but the German people which called ours a mercenary army, as in fact it was and is’: The Letters of A. E. Housman, ed. Archie Burnett (2007), ii. 42. The phrase ‘mercenary army’ occurs in Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, I. vii.
  • More Poems XXXI 14: ‘The heart you have not stirred’. A contrast to Matthew Arnold, ‘Growing Old’, 18, also reflecting upon the past: ‘And heart profoundly stirred’.
  • To Dr Percy Withers, 26 December 1930, on the completion of the edition of Manilius: ‘A more cheerful piece of news is that I have just published the last book I shall ever write, and that I now mean to do nothing for ever and ever’: Letters, ii. 227. Housman echoes the last words of the housemaid in the popular verses beginning ‘Here lies a poor woman who always was tired’:
Don’t mourn for me now, don’t mourn for me never,For I’m going to do nothing for ever and ever.



Lines of Correspondence: E. McKnight Kauffer’s Original Dust Jacket Art for William Faulkner’s Requiem for a Nun

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Edward McKnight Kauffer (1890–1954) produced the original artwork for the first edition dust jacket of William Faulkner’s Requiem for a Nun (1951), and subsequently gave it to author William Faulkner as a gift, inscribing it with the words, ‘For William Faulkner/With the Esteem of E. McKnight Kauffer.’ Together with Assistant Curator Caitlin Condell at the Smithsonian’s Cooper Hewitt Design Museum in New York, my research into Kauffer’s dust jackets uncovered an isolated, unpublicized letter from Kauffer to the artist on Random House stationery. Typed by administrative assistant Mary Barber, the letter concludes with Faulkner’s distinctive signature. Dated 29 June 1951, it reads: ‘I was genuinely surprised and pleased when Mr. Robert Haas gave me the original drawing for the jacket of my new book, with your gracious inscription.’11 Letter and artwork are brought together here for the first time, closing the circle on an exchange of appreciation between two major twentieth-century artists, but signifying too their mutual admiration for each other’s collaboration in the art of bookmaking itself. A few years before this letter from Faulkner, editor and close friend Saxe Commins had drawn Faulkner’s attention to excellent artwork on a Faulkner dust jacket by Kauffer.22 It appears that by the time Faulkner received this gift, the writer had come to esteem the artist as much as Kauffer esteemed the storytelling arts of Faulkner.



Philip Larkin: Echoes and Allusions in the Poems

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 00:00:00 GMT

THE following supplement the notes in my edition of Philip Larkin: The Complete Poems (2012).



Dickens’s Shorthand Deciphered by Identifying ‘Sydney Smith’ Source Text

Thu, 09 Nov 2017 00:00:00 GMT

CHARLES Dickens learned stenography at around the age of 16 using a self-help manual, Gurney’s Brachygraphy,11 and went on to complete his shorthand training between 1829 and 1831 by writing law reports at Doctors Commons, the colloquial name given to the London ecclesiastical courts. By the time he made his debut as a fully-fledged reporter in the Gallery of Parliament in 1831, shorthand had become an integral part of his writing practice and although very little of his shorthand survives, he is known to have used it to draft articles, reports, letters, memos, and private notes throughout his writing career.



A Query to Holders of the 1866 edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderlandpublished in New York by D. Appleton and Co.

Wed, 08 Nov 2017 00:00:00 GMT

THERE were 1,952 copies of what has come to be known as ‘The Appleton Alice’, and it turns out to be an elusive book to locate. The British Library is the only institutional holder found in the UK. Some seventy institutional holders are found in the US and Canada and one in Switzerland. Fewer than twenty private holders have been identified.



Copperplate Printers in London 1775–1840: A Checklist

Wed, 08 Nov 2017 00:00:00 GMT

In the great age of English illustrated-book publishing, 1785–1840, the most important and least identifiable manufacturers of the illustrations were the printers of the copperplates.



William Blake and Richard Edwards as Joint Venturers in Young’s Night Thoughts (1797)

Wed, 08 Nov 2017 00:00:00 GMT

THE collaboration between William Blake and Richard Edwards apparentlybegan about 179411 when Edwards acquired a set of early editions of Young’s Night Thoughts with ‘the Author’s [Young’s] signature’.22 These he commissioned William Blake to illustrate with watercolours. The artist Joseph Farington wrote that on 24 June 1796 Henry Fuseli told him: Blake has undertaken to make designs to encircle the letter press of each page of ‘Youngs night thoughts.[’] Edwards the Bookseller, of Bond S.tr employs him, and has had the letter press of each page laid down on a large half sheet of paper. There are ab.t 900 pages.—Blake asked 100 guineas for the whole. Edwards said He could not afford to give more than 20 guineas for which Blake agreed. Fuseli understands that Edwards proposes to select ab.t 200 from the whole and to have that number engraved as decorations for a new edition.33 Blake’s engravings of his own designs for Young’s Night Thoughts (1797) were issued in the name of Richard Edwards, a modest publisher of Church and King pamphlets and scion of a very distinguished family of antiquarian booksellers, publishers, and book-binders.44 He published only two works of distinction, A Select Collection of Views and Ruins in Rome and Its Vicinity aquatinted by J. Merigot (1796–98) and Young’s Night Thoughts (1797), and both were cooperative ventures in which the commitment of Richard Edwards was very small.



Blake: Milton Had ‘Odd Feelings’—Rather Than None

Tue, 07 Nov 2017 00:00:00 GMT

THE study of William Blake’s manuscript An Island in the Moon1 continues to produce interesting findings. A frequently quoted sentence in Chapter 7 of the satire has been read by all editors (myself included) as stating22: then said Quid I think that Homer is bombast & Shakespeare is too wild & Milton has no feelings they might be easily outdone Scholars have also consistently agreed that in An Island Blake portrayed himself as ‘Quid the Cynic’. Thus, the character’s remark has been interpreted as a declaration of Blake’s own literary ambitions, as well as his critical assessment of Homer, Shakespeare, and Milton, when he was a young 28-year-old man.33 Given Milton’s privileged—even foremost—position in his pantheon of canonical authors, the fact that Blake would describe him as lacking in feelings seems of some relevance.



Jeffrey S. Doty, Shakespeare, Popularity and the Public Sphere

Fri, 03 Nov 2017 00:00:00 GMT

DotyJeffrey S., Shakespeare, Popularity and the Public Sphere. Pp.vii + 210. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2017. £75.00 (ISBN 978 1 107 16337 9).



The Growth of the Rosenwald Blake Collection

Fri, 03 Nov 2017 00:00:00 GMT

The greatest private collections of William Blake’s11 works in Illuminated Printing were formed by William Augustus White (1843–1927)22 and Lessing J. Rosenwald (1891–1979).33 They had more copies of Blake books than even Blake’s chief patrons Thomas Butts (1757–1845) and John Linnell (1792–1882), although Butts and Linnell each had far more watercolours and temperas by Blake. Indeed, it is possible that White and Rosenwald had more copies of Blake’s works in Illuminated Printing than Blake himself ever had at one time.



A New Source for Shelley’s ‘Skylark’

Fri, 03 Nov 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Like the song of the bird it celebrates, Shelley’s ‘To a Sky-lark’ has long been thought a prime example of the Romantic ideal of ‘unpremediated art’. According to Mary Shelley, the inspiration for the poem was a walk she took with her husband in Italy, claiming that such works ‘were written as his mind prompted, listening to the carolling of the bird, aloft in the azure sky’.11 In 1968, however, Parks C. Hunter speculated that the inspiration for Shelley’s ode ‘To a Skylark’ might have been Ronsard’s ‘L’Alouette’, which itself was inspired by an Anacreontic lyric praising the singing of the cicada.22 But Hunter admits there is no evidence Shelley had ever read Ronsard, so surely the inspiration to base a poem on the flight of a lark can be attributed to the actual experience described in Mary Shelley’s note, uninfluenced by the ‘mosaic of quotations’33 assumed as axiomatic by post-modern theorists?



‘Neither for God, Nor for His Enemies’: Wilde’s ‘Theoretikos’ and Pater’s Essay on Botticelli

Thu, 02 Nov 2017 00:00:00 GMT

IN an unsigned notice published in the Saturday Review, 23 July 1881, an anonymous reviewer of Wilde’s Poems (1881) complained that while ‘not without the traces of cleverness’, the poetry was ‘marred everywhere by imitation’.11 The Oxford Union rejected a presentation copy of Wilde’s Poems that same year on the grounds of perceived plagiarism, a charge which has been levelled at Wilde frequently in the years thereafter.22 But it is easy today to overlook the ways in which these imitative habits occasionally may have helped Wilde to place his poetry into the context of wider contemporary debates. It is one such quotation in Wilde’s poem ‘Theoretikos’, taken from Walter Pater’s essay on Botticelli (1870) and so far missed by the critical heritage, that concerns the present note.



David Quint, Inside Paradise Lost: Reading the Designs of Milton’s Epic

Tue, 31 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

QuintDavid, Inside Paradise Lost: Reading the Designs of Milton’s Epic. Pp. xii + 329. Princeton, NJ and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2014. £24.95 (ISBN 978 0 691 15974 4).



Dennis Danielson, Paradise Lost and the Cosmological Revolution

Tue, 31 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

DanielsonDennis, Paradise Lost and the Cosmological Revolution. Pp. xxiv + 220. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014. £60.00 US$95.00 (ISBN 978 1 10703360 3).



Elizabeth Hodgson, Grief and Women Writers in the English RenaissanceEric Parisot, Graveyard Poetry: Religion, Aesthetics and the Mid-Eighteenth-Century Poetic Condition

Tue, 31 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

HodgsonElizabeth, Grief and Women Writers in the English Renaissance. Pp. x + 196. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015. £60.00 US $90.00 (ISBN 978 1 107 07998 4).



C. D. Blanton, Epic Negation: The Dialectical Poetics of Late Modernism

Tue, 31 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

BlantonC. D., Epic Negation: The Dialectical Poetics of Late Modernism. Pp. xii + 367 (Modernist Literature & Culture). Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2015. £44.99 (ISBN 978 0 19 984471 5).



Margaret Paul Joseph, Jasmine on a String: A Survey of Women Writing English Fiction in India

Tue, 31 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

JosephMargaret Paul, Jasmine on a String: A Survey of Women Writing English Fiction in India. Pp xii + 200. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2014. Hardbound Rs 1145.00 (ISBN 978 0 19 945248 4).



Civic Lessons: Fauriel’s ‘Chants Populaires’ and the Abolitionist The Humming Bird

Fri, 27 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

DURING the Greek War of Independence (1821–27) Charles Claude Fauriel (1772–1844) collected heroic ballads that characterize the national spirit of Greece. Seemingly a literary pursuit, Fauriel’s underlying purpose for ‘Chants Populaires de la Grèce Moderne’ was civic, as is evident from his close friend Mary Mohl (née Clarke)’s comment that he was ‘the only man in Europe who has taken up [his] pen on their behalf … on a grand scale’.11 She mentions how his pursuit had inspired her to ‘translate … a little of [his] Greek book—and added three pages of [her] own!’ which she proposed ‘to be put in a little magazine concerned with the slavery question’.22 She only aimed to show this anonymous publication to her family, not even to him.



Mrs Austen’s Finances—A Reassessment

Thu, 26 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

IN Jane Austen and the Clergy, Irene Collins stated, ‘The church made no provision, financial or otherwise, for clergy widows.’11 A clergyman’s wife would be uneasily aware of the fact that should her husband die before her, she may well find herself without an income and indeed perhaps without anywhere to live, as her husband’s home would be the property of his successor. This was the case with Mrs Lloyd, mother of Mary and Martha. Upon the death of her husband, the Revd Nowes Lloyd in January 1789, she and her two daughters, who had been living at Enborne near Newbury, were left homeless.22



Some Unnoted Sources in Oscar Wilde’s Commonplace Book

Thu, 26 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

WHEN Philip E. Smith II and Michael S. Helfand published their edition of Wilde’s Commonplace Book in 1989, they were aware that they had not identified all of his sources and asked their readers to assist in illuminating any missing references.11 Early work to this end was completed by R. J. Schork and Horst Schroeder, and recent discoveries continue to be made, including those registering Wilde’s hitherto unknown debts to popular science.22 In this note I will deal with further quotations which have gone unnoted; some from sources Wilde is already known to have consulted, but many from sources new to Wilde studies. These new sources, including Wilde’s reading of significant figures in contemporary philosophical debates such as Auguste Comte and Edward Caird, his interest in contemporary engagements with Spinoza, and his reading of John Addington Symonds on the Italian Renaissance, continue to broaden our understanding of the breadth and depth of Wilde’s reading as an undergraduate.



Corrigendum

Wed, 25 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Zoe Jaques and Eugene Giddens, Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass: A Publishing History.



Attributions of Authorship in the Gentleman’s Magazine, 1803–1804: A Supplement to the Union List

Wed, 25 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

The following set of 116 new attributions of authorship (and one corrected attribution) of anonymous, pseudonymous, or incompletely signed letters, articles, poems, obituaries, and drawings appearing in the Gentleman’s Magazine (hereafter GM), 1803–04, constitutes the latest installment in my efforts to supplement my Attributions of Authorship in the Gentleman’s Magazine, 1731–1868: An Electronic Union List (Charlottesville, VA: Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia, 2003), electronic database, http://bsuva.org/bsuva/gm2. The two years in question saw the GM under the joint direction of John Nichols and John Bowyer Nichols, father and son thus sharing the editorial mantle of the GM’s fictitious conductor, ‘Sylvanus Urban’, and steadily expanding the magazine’s antiquarian content (a trend that had become increasingly evident since the commencement of J. B. Nichols’s partnership in 1800).



‘Dishonours of the Grave’: Jeremy Taylor and De Quincey’s Confessions

Tue, 24 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

AT the conclusion to the section entitled ‘The Pleasures of Opium’ from his Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (1821), Thomas de Quincey apostrophizes his narcotic of choice: Oh, just, subtle, and mighty opium! … —thou buildest upon the bosom of darkness, out of the fantastic imagery of the brain, cities and temples beyond the art of Phidias and Praxiteles—beyond the splendour of Babylon and Hekatómpylos: and ‘from the anarchy of dreaming sleep’, callest into sunny light the faces of long-buried beauties, and the blessed household countenances, cleansed from the ‘dishonours of the grave’. Thou only givest these gifts to man; and thou hast the keys of Paradise, oh, just, subtle, and mighty opium!11 Referring to the Greek sculptors Phidias and Praxiteles and the architectural wonders of ancient Babylon and Thebes, de Quincey quotes Wordsworth’s Excursion (1814) and the Wanderer on ‘the anarchy of dreaming sleep’ (iv. 87), and by implication (if silently) evoking its ‘death-like void’ (iv. 88).22 Opium, holding the ‘keys of Paradise’, cleanses the user ‘from the “dishonours of the grave”’, de Quincey continues, but the source of this final quotation has not been pinned down definitively.



Coleridge’s Quotation from Petronius in the Notebooks of 1830

Tue, 24 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

IN an entry in his Notebooks from 1830, Coleridge considers the make-up of Charles Grey’s first cabinet.11 Grey had been returned to power on 22 November, following the resignation of the previous prime minister, Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, over the question of parliamentary reform.22 For Coleridge, the cabinet augurs the ‘Spoliation of the National Clerisy’, and alongside Grey as the new prime minister, he names Henry Peter Brougham (Lord Chancellor), Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice (Lord President of the Council), John Charles Spencer (Chancellor of the Exchequer), John Cam Hobhouse, a friend of Byron who had won Westminster but did not serve on the cabinet, and Edward Smith-Stanley (Chief Secretary for Ireland).



The ‘Thaumaturgic Art of Thought’: Bram Stoker and Thomas Carlyle

Tue, 24 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

In a 1908 essay first published in The Nineteenth Century, Bram Stoker turned to the question of ‘The Censorship of Fiction’.11 Stoker’s target in this essay was primarily fiction he deemed pornographic, a point which today may be viewed with some irony given the eroticism of certain passages of Dracula (1897).22 In a phrase commonly read as responding on some level to his old friend Oscar Wilde’s public trial and conviction for ‘gross indecency’ in 1895, Stoker writes that ‘the only emotions which in the long run harm are those arising from sex impulses’.33 Stoker’s position is conservative, a reaction against what he here calls ‘decadence’,44 and he concludes that some form of censorship of fiction, if undesirable, is probably warranted. Noting that in the form of the police ‘there exists a censorship of a kind, but it is crude and coarse and clumsy, and difficult of operation’, Stoker continues: No one could wish an art so fine as literature, with a spirit as subtle and evanescent as œnanthic ether—the outward expression of the ‘thaumaturgic art of thought’—put under repressive measures carried out by coarse officials. But it is the coarseness and unscrupulousness of certain writers of fiction which has brought the evil; on their heads be it.55 Literature, Stoker contends, is intoxicating, ‘œnanthic’, from the Greek ?ἰνάνθη, the inflorescence of the wild vine, and possessing a ‘thaumaturgic’ power of working miracles, although such wonders must be circumscribed by the pressing contemporary claims to censorship.



Some Unnoted Sources in Oscar Wilde’s Oxford Notebook

Tue, 24 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

FURTHER to my note on sources in Wilde’s Commonplace Book, I discuss below some unnoticed allusions and quotations Wilde jotted down in the notebook he kept at Oxford.11



An Unnoted Quotation from Pater in Wilde’s Review of William Morris

Tue, 24 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

In his review of William Morris’ novel A Tale of the House of the Wolfings, which he first published in the Pall Mall Gazette on 2 March 1889, Wilde opines: ‘In days of uncouth realism and unimaginative imitation, it is a high pleasure to welcome work of this kind.’11 He is referring to Morris’ affected style in the novel, but his discussion is circumscribed by Walter Pater’s discussion of similar themes developed four years earlier in his novel Marius the Epicurean (1885). Indeed, Wilde quotes Pater in the very first paragraph of the review, a point which has remained unnoted by the critical heritage: Mr. Morris’s last book is a piece of pure art workmanship from beginning to end, and the very remoteness of its style from the common language and ordinary interests of our day gives to the whole story a strange beauty and an unfamiliar charm. … From an artistic point of view it may be described as an attempt to return by a self-conscious effort to the conditions of an earlier and a fresher age. Attempts of this kind are not uncommon in the history of art.22 The passage, in which Wilde historicizes the concept of style, is significant not only in its appreciation of Morris, but for the way in which these comments anticipate those dealing with the problem of style in his later dialogue, ‘The Critic as Artist’, first published as ‘The True Function and Value of Criticism’ in The Nineteenth Century, a year after the review in July and December 1890.33



Credo Quia Impossibile: Who Said It and When?

Mon, 23 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

In a query posed just over 100 years ago, Edward Bensley drew attention to a passage in the British monthly The Nineteenth Century and After in which ‘a medieval philosopher’ was said to have vaunted his faith with the phrase ‘credo quia impossibile’ (I believe because it is impossible).11 Bensley asks who that medieval philosopher was, and where and when he made his declaration. That Bensley’s query, thus far, has failed to attract a single response is no reflection on the assiduousness of this journal’s readership, but rather reflects the fact that almost beyond doubt no medieval philosopher ever said these words. The phrase in question, along with the common variant credo quia absurdum (to which Bensley also makes reference) has been traditionally associated not with a medieval figure but with the North African Church Father, Tertullian (c.160–c.225). Moreover, as patristic scholars have long pointed out, Tertullian wrote neither of the phrases so commonly attributed to him.22 What he did say was this: ‘et mortuus est Dei Filius, prorsus credibile est, quia ineptum est; et sepultus, resurrexit; certum est, quia impossibile’, which may be rendered: ‘and the Son of God died, it is entirely credible, because it is unfitting, and he was buried and rose again; it is certain, because it is impossible’.33 Bensley’s pointed enquiry was no doubt intended to draw attention to both the distortion of Tertullian’s original formulation and its misattribution to a ‘medieval philosopher’.



Arthur Machen’s Stoke Newington

Mon, 23 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Siegfried Sassoon wrote in Memoirs of an Infantry Officer, published in 1930, of a rambling discussion with fellow officers about things one noticed and places one knew: ‘Durley … put in a mild plea for Stoke Newington, which was where he lived; it contained several quaint old corners if you knew where to look for them.’11 It is quite possible that this remark had an influence on fantasy writer Arthur Machen’s choice of Stoke Newington as the supposed location of the visionary Canon’s Park in his short story ‘N’, published in 1936: You go in through a gateway, and he said it was like finding yourself in another country. Such trees, that must have been brought from the end of the world: there were none like them in England, though one or two reminded him of trees in Kew Gardens; deep hollows with streams running from the rocks; lawns all purple and gold with flowers, and golden lilies too, towering up into the trees, and mixing with the crimson of the flowers that hung from the boughs. And here and there, there were little summer-houses and temples, shining white in the sun, like a view in China … well-shaded walks that went down to green hollows bordered with thyme; and … architecture of fantastic and unaccustomed beauty, which seemed to speak of fairyland itself.22 What is not very likely is that the real-life location in London suburbia that Machen had in mind as the subject of his narrative was anywhere in Stoke Newington.



James and Eliot: ‘… without motion’

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

EARLY in The Wings of the Dove, Kate Croy is described: ‘She had stature without height, grace without motion, presence without mass.’ Two dozen years later, a similar formula appears early in T. S. Eliot’s ‘The Hollow Men’: Shape without form, shade without colour,Paralysed force, gesture without motion … Eliot’s references or allusions to nine works by James have been documented, but none thus far to The Wings of the Dove.



Some Influences on Philip Larkin’s ‘Cut Grass’

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

On 3 June 1971, Philip Larkin wrote to his partner Monica Jones that he was ‘trying to write an ethereal little song … about the time of year’.11 The finished poem was published as ‘Cut Grass’ at the end of July, and collected in High Windows (1974).



Langland’s Patience and Reading Piers Plowman

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

The last fifteen years have been very hard on William Langland’s personification Patience. Down to the ’noughties, scholars generally perceived this figure’s appearance as initiating a central (although far from final) development in the argument of Piers Plowman. His triumphant ‘patient poverty’ was seen to mark one significant and constructive argumentative stage in the poem, following on and dissipating the confusions attendant upon the dreamer’s search for ‘Do-well’.11



Who Was Mary Litchfield?

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

In Belonging Willa Muir writes that she first heard of Edwin Muir from Mary Robertson in London towards the end of the summer term of 1918. ‘A Scottish girl, Mary Robertson, newly come to teach at Walthamstow, had walked me up and down Kensington Gardens one evening to hear the story of her love-affair in Glasgow with a certain Edwin Muir, an attractive and gifted young man. It was a melodramatic story ending in a grand renunciation scene when Mary gave him up for his own good.’11



Al Purdy’s Library: A Biographical Resource

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Although his works remain comparatively unknown outside Canada, the poet Al Purdy (1918–2000) was an exceptionally prominent, and even notorious, figure in Canadian letters from the 1960s until his death. Beyond his country’s borders he is perhaps best known for his epistolary friendship with the American writer Charles Bukowski.11 Purdy’s final gathering of poems, Beyond Remembering, was published shortly after he died; it is a landmark in Canadian poetry.22 He addressed a great range of topics in his works, but despite their variety his poems are typically (and not always unjustly) understood to explore aspects of Canadian identity and experience: he was acutely concerned with history, politics, cultural affairs, and the myths of nationhood, which he was as likely to deflate as to uphold. The witty assessment of his fellow-poet George Bowering—‘Al Purdy is the world’s most Canadian poet’33—carries an essential truth, and studies of Purdy’s career have made a recurring subject of the poetry’s national (and nationalist) dimensions in their celebratory and condemnatory manifestations alike.44



George Eliot, Opium, and the Ambience of European Cities

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

In December 1860 George Eliot wrote to Barbara Bodichon, ‘I have faith in the working-out of higher possibilities than the Catholic or any other church has presented. … The highest “calling and election” is to do without opium and live through all our pain with conscious, clear-eyed endurance.’11 This might reasonably be supposed to be not a reference to personal experience of opium but merely an employment of an analogy that was by no means original: George Eliot is unlikely to have been familiar with Karl Marx’s claim in 1844 that ‘Religion … is the opium of the people’, but almost certainly knew of Novalis’s earlier formulation, Ihre sogenannte Religion wirkt bloss wie ein Opiat: reizend, betäubend, Schmerzen aus Schwäche stillend’, their so-called religion functions simply as an opiate, stimulating numbing, calming pain by means of weakness.’22 On the other hand, part of a letter of George Eliot’s to John Sibree of March 1848 does sound very much like an account of a sustained dosing with laudanum or some other preparation of opium: a messenger of Satan was sent in the guise of a headache and directly on the back of that a face-ache, so that I have been a mere victim of sensations memories and visions for the last week. I am even now, as you may imagine, in a shattered limbo-like mental condition.33 ‘Sensations’ and ‘visions’ might conceivably be appropriate terms to describe the effects of severe migraine: but ‘memories’ sounds more like something to do with the classic trance-like state resulting from opium use, and the ‘limbo-like mental condition’ that succeeded the headache and facial neuralgia suggests the mental disequilibrium resulting from the abrupt cessation of opium intake following days of heavy dosing.



A Japanese American Voice in Pound’s Pisan Cantos

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

EZRA Pound’s Canto 74, the first of the Pisan Cantos, includes a reference to a ‘Japanese sentry’ whom Pound quotes as saying: ‘Paaak yu djeep over there.’ The sentry’s words, with slight variations, return as a motif in Canto 79, where they are quoted twice without reference to their speaker. Although scholars have devoted substantial effort to identifying several of the individual soldiers whom Pound encountered while held at the Disciplinary Training Center (DTC) at Pisa—most notably Henry Hudson Edwards, the African American soldier who makes a table for the imprisoned Pound out of a packing box—previous scholarship has not, to our knowledge, discussed the identity of the ‘Japanese sentry’. What would a Japanese soldier have been doing in an American military prison camp in Italy in 1945?



Some Evidence for bloody as an Anglo-Norman Intensifier

Wed, 11 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

When one looks for the etymology of the word bloody in the Oxford English Dictionary, an intriguing discussion ensues around its use as an adjectival intensifier, the origin of which is ‘uncertain and disputed’.11 To clarify, an adjectival intensifier is a word used to increase the force of an adjective, such as ‘absolutely’ in the phrase ‘that is absolutely brilliant’. The Oxford English Dictionary suggests a range of possible origins for bloody as an intensifier, from oaths pertaining to Christ’s blood to an evolution of the phrase ‘bloody drunk’ which, it is argued, ‘reflects attitudes to the Catholic dogma of transubstantiation … and the drinking habits of priests during the Reformation’. The first attestation that the Oxford English Dictionary gives for bloody acting as an intensifier is from c.1540, in Liber Officialis Sancti Andree: ‘Sayand and allegand ȝow ane commown bluidy huir’ [Saying and alleging you a common bloody whore]; although this reference is in Middle Scots.22



‘To Dare Larks’ in Early Modern English

Wed, 11 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

In Old and Middle English, the verb dare belonged to the inflectional class known as preterite-presents. As such, it lacked the usual present tense ending in the third person singular (OE dearr, ME dar) and had an irregular past tense form (e.g. OE dorste, ME durst, etc.).11 However, from Early Modern English dare also occurs as a regular weak verb with the third person singular present tense form dares and the past tense form dared. The older past tense form durst eventually becomes obsolete in the written standard language, but survives until at least the nineteenth century in non-standard dialects.22



The Concluding Page of an Angrian Story by Branwell Brontë

Tue, 10 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

A single-page holograph, signed and dated by Patrick Branwell Brontë (1817–48), survives in the Heritage Collections of the Dunedin Public Library in New Zealand. The page includes a previously unpublished passage from the Brontës’ Angria writings, in Branwell’s hand, that provides the conclusion and completion date of a longer, published section held in the Henry Houston Bonnell Collection of the Brontë Parsonage Museum.



‘Of Hunters and of Fishers’: A Covert Critique of Arnold’s Celtic Element in Yeats’s A Vision

Tue, 10 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

In the introduction to the first of his acclaimed two-volume biography of W.B. Yeats (published in 1997 and 2003 respectively), R.F. Foster sets his own preferred ‘day by day’ or chronological treatment of Yeats’s life and art against a prevalent thematic approach adopted, most influentially, by the renowned Richard Ellmann.11 Duly acknowledging those writers who exerted powerful formative influences on the biographical and critical tradition pertaining to Yeats, Foster explains that soon after Yeats’s death in 1939 ‘Joseph Hone produced his official life; a literary biography followed from A. Norman Jeffares, and then the luminous works by Richard Ellmann, which still hold the critical field’.22 Foster argues that biographical studies of Yeats ‘all tend to follow Ellmann’s dazzling structure’ and suggests, notably, that Ellmann’s thematic approach is comparable to that of Yeats himself: ‘Faced with the multifarious activities, the feints and turns, the wildly differing worlds which WBY embraced, Ellmann followed his subject’s example in dealing with his life thematically… . The result, in Ellmann’s work, was a masterpiece of intellectual analysis and psychological penetration, to which all Yeatsians are for ever [sic] indebted.’33



Is This Really a Poem by Lord Macaulay?

Mon, 09 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Barker’s Review was a short-lived journal published in London between 1861 and 1863.11 It collected articles and anecdotes from around the world. In the edition of 9 August 1862 there is a quote from a Canadian newspaper, the Guelph Advertiser, under the title ‘COURTESY: An Athenian Story by Lord Macaulay’. A poem was preceded by this introduction: THE following stanzas were recited by Mr. Siddons in the course of his lecture recently. They are the composition of Macaulay, according to Mr. Siddons, having been copied by him, while residing in Calcutta, from an album in which they had been written by their distinguished author. They have never been published—in fact, never were known to exist until Professor Siddons brought them to light, and as a proof of his gratitude to the citizens of Guelph he left them a copy. The poem, which is based on a story from Plutarch’s Morals, does not seem to appear in any standard collection of Thomas Babington Macaulay’s works. It describes how an elderly man enters a crowded stadium and is ignored by the seated Athenian youths while the courteous Spartans all stand until he has been found a comfortable place. The style and subject could be Macaulay’s, but doubt remains over the provenance of the verse.






Verses on the Trinity Ascribed to John Skelton

Sat, 07 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Among the works listed as ‘Doubtful’ in the standard account of the Skelton canon by Kinsman and Yonge, is a series of prayers, each of two stanzas, to each person of the Trinity.11 The information about these prayers that they give is both inaccurate and incomplete. They describe these prayers as in rhyme royal stanzas; they are in 8-line stanzas rhyming ababbcbc, 48 lines in all. They note the appearance of these prayers in British Library MS Add. 20059, fols 100v–101,22 where they occur without a title or internal headings or attribution, and their appearance in Richard Lant’s edition, Certain bokes compiled by mayster Skelton ([1545]; STC 22598), sig. Cvrv. But they do not note that they are also in Pithy, pleasaunt and profitable works of maister Skelton (1568; STC 22608), sigs avii–viii, nor that they appear in a manuscript formerly in the possession of J. Meade Falkner, sold at Sotheby’s, 12–14 December 1932, lot 86. This is a paper manuscript of 129 leaves described there as a Book of Hours. This poem, titled ‘A praier to the Father and to the Sonne, and to the holy Ghost compiled & made by the poet Skelton’ is on fols 100v–102v. This manuscript was subsequently in the collection of Robert S Pirie. In his sale at Sotheby’s, New York, 2–4 December 2015, it was lot 661 (where it is described as a prayer book and dated ‘c. 1580’). It is now MS Taylor 23 in Princeton University Library.33



British Travellers in Geneva in 1816: A Demographic Reappraisal

Sat, 07 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Recent commemorations of Lord Byron and the Shelleys’ stay in Switzerland during the so-called ‘Haunted Summer’ of 1816 have once again drawn attention to Geneva as a Grand Tour stopover with a significant colony of British visitors and expatriates.11 A Protestant city republic with diplomatic, religious, and cultural ties to Great Britain, Geneva was both a transit point connecting the Simplon Pass, Chamonix, and Lyon, and a social and intellectual centre in its own right. Integrated into the Swiss Confederation in 1814, the city fast became known, in the words of John Galt, as ‘the thoroughfare of the travelling English’, with lords in whites playing cricket at Plainpalais and crowds of ‘vulgar English’ attending the city fêtes.22 The reputedly high number of more or less fashionable Britons who passed through the town in 1816 in particular is frequently cited as proof of a post Napoleonic ‘rush’ on the Continent, marked by a radical change in the social make-up of travellers.33 Geneva’s scholarly interest as such has extended beyond the confines of Romantic literary history, serving as a case study for the transformation from aristocratic Grand Tour to the beginnings of mass tourism.44



New Light on Louis Asa-Asa and the Publication of his Slave Narrative

Sat, 07 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

‘Narrative of Louis Asa-Asa: A Captured African’ was published by Thomas Pringle with The History of Mary Prince, A West Indian Slave (1831) as a ‘convenient supplement’ to the far longer history of Prince. ‘While Mary’s narrative shews the disgusting character of colonial slavery’, Pringle writes, ‘this little tale explains with equal force the horrors in which it originates’.11 In an 1831 notice of its publication the Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine described it as ‘concise, but heart-rending’.22 While The History of Mary Prince ‘is now a staple component of anthologies of early black writing, slave narratives, black Atlantic writing, and black women’s writing’,33 ‘Narrative of Louis Asa-Asa, A Captured African’ is a relatively ‘neglected’ slave narrative.44 Historians, notably Marcus Rediker and Benjamin Nicholas Lawrence, have read details of the narrative as representative of processes of capture and resale in Africa and of conditions aboard slavers.55 Nicole Aljoe observes that ‘the narrative is the only evidence of Louis Asa-Asa’s existence’.66 In his introduction to Asa-Asa’s narrative Pringle mentions George Stephen (1794–1879), the son of leading abolitionist James Stephen. George Stephen did legal work for the Anti-Slavery Society on an honorary basis and was, in his words, ‘a kind of clerk of the papers’ of the Anti-Slavery Society.77 He was knighted in 1837. In 1855 he migrated to Melbourne in the colony of Victoria. There he wrote a short self-published autobiography of 188 pages, ostensibly for his family, A Memoir of the Late James Stephen, One of the Masters in the High Court of Chancery, in Relation to Slave Emancipation (1875). Nearly three pages of the autobiography are devoted to his dealings and relationship with Louis Asa-Asa, who was for many years a servant in his household. Throughout the memoir, the octogenarian Stephen notes that in the absence of access to papers in Britain he has to rely on a sometimes sketchy memory. Stephen’s account nonetheless throws new light on the provenance of and potential elisions in ‘Narrative of Louis Asa-Asa’, the place of Asa-Asa in the history of the anti-slavery campaign, and Asa-Asa’s life in England.



W. G. Sebald and Joseph Conrad’s ‘Swiss Governess’

Sat, 07 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

The fifth section of W. G. Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn opens with the author’s description of having fallen asleep while watching a documentary about Roger Casement on BBC television. On wakening, all that Sebald can recall, he reports, is the programme’s opening account of Casement’s meeting with Joseph Conrad in the Congo. Sebald then turns his attention to Conrad, starting with a description of the departure of the young Konrad Korzeniowski, as Conrad was then called, from a stay with his mother on her brother’s estate in 1863. She had been allowed to remain there for three months to recover her health (her tuberculosis was to kill her in 1865) before taking her son to rejoin her husband Apollo in exile. Sebald’s description of the scene includes a reference to ‘ungainly Mlle Durand from Switzerland, the governess who has devoted herself to Konrad’s education all summer with the utmost energy’ and who implores him as he departs with his mother: ‘N’oublie pas ton français, mon chéri!’.11 In Sebald’s original German text Mlle Durand is described as ‘das häßliche Schweizerfräulein Durand’.22



A Previously Unknown Fragment of the Contemplations of the Dread and Love of God (in a Manuscript Owned by John Leche)

Tue, 03 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Oxford, Trinity College MS 13 (hereafter OTC 13) is a small, paper and parchment book dating to the second half of the fifteenth century.11 Its contents are devotional, and consist mostly of hymns and prayers, but also texts as diverse as Henry Suso’s Hours of Eternal Wisdom (ff. 98r–104v) and a diagrammatic representation of the genealogy of Christ drawn from Jacobus de Voragine’s Legenda Aurea (ff. 46v–47r). All but one of the texts are in Latin, and it is solely as a book of Latin that OTC 13 has previously been catalogued.22 On f. 13r, however, there exists a fragment of a Middle English prayer, titled ‘Ihesu mercy’ and beginning ‘A lord god almyghty iblessed mot þou be’, which has never before been considered.



The First Statement in English of the Historical Principles of Lexicography

Tue, 03 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

The publication of the first fascicle of what is now the Oxford English Dictionary under the title ‘A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles’ brought the historical principles of lexicography explicitly to the attention of all readers of the dictionary.11 On these principles, each entry tells the story of a given form on the basis of chronologically ordered evidence for its use, from its first attestation to its last attestation (or the present day, or the terminus ante quem of the dictionary). They are often seen as originating in the thought of the German Hellenist Franz Passow, who expressed them in an essay on Greek lexicography in 1812, and it has also been observed that they are implicit in the entry structure of John Jamieson’s Etymological Dictionary of the Scots Language, published in 1808.22



An Allusion in Maria Edgeworth’s The Double Disguise to the Historical Poisoning at the Castle Inn at Salt Hill

Tue, 03 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

In England, during the mid-to-late 1700s, there were two well-known inns at Salt Hill, and while the Windmill Inn was the most famous, the Castle Inn was the most infamous.11 Maria Edgeworth exploits this infamy in an exchange between the Landlady, the proprietor of the Inn22 in which The Double Disguise (perf. 1786) is set, and her maid, Betty Broom: Betty Broom: About, Ma’am! Was not I all morning helping Jim Waiter to pick sloes for port wine & pare turnips for cyder? Lord knows I have had enough to be about—had not I a dozen pair of sheets to sprinkle for the stage folks & a whole week’s tea leaves to dry and—Landlady: Well & I hope you have made them something greener than the last—Jim saw I was obliged to mix a quarter of fresh with them, to give ’em some color, but so you get the work out of your hands you don’t care a farthing for the credit of the house!Betty Broom: I’ll answer for them Madam, the brass kettle was pure & green before I put them in & they look as fresh & feel as crisp as the best bloom tea that can be had for money.33 Betty’s reply that the brass kettle was green before she put the tea leaves in to boil is a reference to the highly poisonous verdigris that will form on brass and copper cookware when it is poorly maintained.44 The fact that Betty mistakes the green of the poisonous verdigris for the kettle’s freshness is a verbal blunder, or what the Edgeworths termed a ‘bull’ in Essay on Irish Bulls (1802). To those family and friends in the audience of the family production of The Double Disguise in December 1786, however, this ‘bull’ would have also prompted recollection of the poisoning that occurred at the Castle Inn at Salt Hill on 29 March 1773: The widow [Mrs Partridge], on her death-bed, said that as she considered it right to disclose the secret of the poisoning now that it could no longer hurt any individual, and was at the time purely accidental, she would confess that it arose from the turtle having been left in the stewpans cold, and then heated afresh for the dinner. … On the alarm of illness being given, the husband flew to the cellar, the wife to the kitchen, where she at one glance perceived the cause. From the acids used in dressing the turtle, the pan was covered with verdigris.55 Many of the guests in attendance were the Commissioners of the Colnbrook Turnpike. In all, twenty-three in attendance survived the poisoning, while nineteen died, ‘many of them even before they could reach their homes’.66 Betty and the Landlady’s brief allusion to this real life event is made explicit during a later exchange between the characters of Westbrooke and, once again, Betty. Curiously, Edgewor[...]



Authorship of a Poem to Walter Scott Discovered

Tue, 03 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

In his Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott (1837–8), John Gibson Lockhart hypothesizes that Scott must have begun to exercise his poetic talents at a young age, perhaps in his mid-teens. He has found among some papers of Scott’s mother a poem titled ‘Lines to Mr. Walter Scott—on reading his poem of Guiscard and Matilda, inscribed to Miss Keith of Ravelstone’. Before giving the poem in its entirety, Lockhart observes, There is no date; but I conceive the lines to bear internal evidence of having been written when [Scott] was very young—not, I should suppose, above fourteen or fifteen at most. I think the writer was a woman; and have almost as little doubt that they came from the pen of his old admirer, Mrs. Cockburn.11 In fact, the lines were written by Elizabeth Keir, a friend of both Mrs Cockburn and Miss Keith. They appear in the second of two manuscript volumes of poetry written by Keir and now held at the National Library of Scotland, where they are titled simply ‘To Mr Walter Scott. On reading his verses inscribed to Miss Keith’. A note pencilled in beside the poem by James Keir, Elizabeth’s eldest son, and dated 1839, explains: ‘Entitled Guiscard and Matilda, Mr. Scott’s poem of which no copy has as far as I know been yet found appears to have been written in 1786. See original copy of these lines in the possession of Mr. Wm Keith’. Apart from the shortened title, the verses in Keir’s volume are identical to those attributed by Lockhart to Mrs. Cockburn.



Another Early Comparison between Jane Austen and Harriet Martineau

Tue, 03 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

THAT more than one contemporary reviewer compared Harriet Martineau’s 1839 novel Deerbrook favourably to the work of Jane Austen is known. The first volume of B. C. Southam’s masterful Jane Austen: The Critical Heritage includes verbatim the piece which appeared in the Edinburgh Review of July 1839, tentatively identified as being by T. H. Lewis. An earlier Athenaeum review by Edward Moxon, in a similar vein, appeared on 1 April 1839. An excerpt from this review, making the comparison with Austen, was used as an endorsement in advertisements for Deerbrook which appeared in the London Evening Standard (23 April 1839; 23 May 1839) and the Morning Post (22 May 1839).



The Earliest Literary Reference to Manchester Pudding?

Tue, 03 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

The basic recipe for a version of a Manchester Pudding, a dessert with a breadcrumb-thickened mixture baked over a layer of jam and a pastry base, dates to 1669 and Sir Kenelm Digby’s posthumously published The Closet Opened.11 But how and when a specific version of the pudding came to be named Manchester is less certain. A recipe for Manchester Pudding is given under that name by Isabella Beeton in her famous Book of Household Management (1861), which is traditionally assumed to be the first recorded reference to the dish, although an earlier recipe is given in John Henry Walsh’s Manual of Domestic Economy (1856).22 However, a literary allusion, if not a recipe, occurs four years earlier in Henry Longueville Mansel’s closet-drama Phrontisterion (1852).33



Some Minor Sources of Oscar Wilde’s ‘Charmides’ and The Ballad of Reading Gaol

Tue, 03 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Ever since the publication of Wilde’s Poems in 1881, a host of critics have pointed out the great number of quotations, adaptations, allusions, and verbal echoes in his works, acknowledged and otherwise, and debated their purpose and legitimacy.11 The fullest annotation of such borrowings in Wilde’s poems is to be found in the Oxford English Texts edition,22 though for the later poems, such as The Ballad of Reading Gaol, Isobel Murray’s edition should also be consulted.33 In this note I point out a number of possible debts to other writers that are not noticed in either edition.



Matthew Arnold: Sir Thomas Bodley’s Librarian?

Tue, 03 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

SCHOLARS have long seen libraries as a concrete manifestation of Matthew Arnold’s ideas of light and culture. Few people know, however, that Arnold once contemplated working in a library. In an April 1882 letter to his brother Thomas, Arnold intriguingly notes: ‘I was asked to send in my name as a candidate for the Bodleian to the V. C. [Vice-Chancellor], and declined. I imagine the thing is at an end so far as I am concerned.’11 Although the letter is included in Cecil Lang’s magisterial collection of Arnold’s correspondence, published between 1996 and 2001, the remark itself receives no elucidating footnote by the editor. None of Arnold’s other published letters shed light on the matter.



Siegfried Sassoon: His Musicality and Poetry

Tue, 03 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

An early realization of the depth of his poetic and musical sensibilities came to Sassoon one summer at the age of eight while he convalesced from pneumonia in a small tent on the garden lawn at his home, Weirleigh, near Tunbridge Wells. An Aeolian harp in a nearby tree produced ‘a local euphony which swelled and faded to a melodious murmur. The sound was like poetry; for even then poetry could just stir my mind—as though it were some living and yet mysterious spirit—touching me to a blurred and uncontrolled chord of ecstasy.’11



A New Source for Larkin’s ‘Poetry of Departures’

Tue, 03 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

When Archie Burnett’s edition of Philip Larkin’s Complete Poems was published in 2012, it provided Larkin’s readers with more detailed annotations than any previous edition.11 Many of the sources of Larkin’s poetry were identified for the first time, and it became possible to see how he had drawn on and transformed the writers who influenced him. Nonetheless, there are sources that remain to be identified: this note supplies one of them. Larkin’s poem ‘Poetry of Departures’ was written in January 1954 and published in Poetry and Audience that June before being reprinted in two other magazines and collected in The Less Deceived the following year. John Osborne identifies Somerset Maugham’s novel The Moon and Sixpence as a source for ‘much of the spirit and certain of the motifs’ of the poem.22 This note will suggest another source: Christopher Isherwood’s first novel, All the Conspirators (1928).33



Percy Bysshe Shelley’s ‘I Visit Thee But Thou Art Sadly Changed’

Thu, 28 Sep 2017 00:00:00 GMT

THE first line of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s ‘I visit thee but thou art sadly changed’ contains an allusion to Byron that allows for a reconsideration of this lyric blank verse fragment.11 Neville Rogers first published the fragment in 1975; it was then included in The Poems of Shelley edited by Geoffrey Matthews and Kelvin Everest, and Michael J. Neth has recently commented on it in The Complete Poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelley.22 There has been some disagreement over which lines in Bodleian MS. Shelley adds. e. 10 comprise ‘I visit thee’. I take the text to run from the top of p. 126 to the bottom of p. 127, and to consist of twelve lines—from ‘I visit thee but thou art sadly changed’ to ‘which [?heap] forth sorrow’—of which ten lines are in fairly regular iambic pentameter and two lines are unfinished (ll. 10, 12). I do not think the lines on p. 128a and p. 129a relate to ‘I visit thee’ for four reasons: their metrical irregularity, the steadier hand of these lines, the presence of a rhyme on p. 129a, and because I agree with Neth that these later pages are early plans and drafts of stanzas for the 1817 poem Laon and Cythna (L&C).33



T. S. Eliot’s ‘Young Man Carbuncular’: Precious Gemstone or Infected Sore?

Thu, 28 Sep 2017 00:00:00 GMT

At the centre of ‘The Fire Sermon’, in The Waste Land, is a long and fairly detailed account of loveless sex between the lustful ‘young man carbuncular’ (l. 230) and the anonymous, passively acquiescent typist. This scene is famously anticipated by Tiresias’ premonitions of suffering, ‘at the violet hour’ (l. 215).11 While scholars in the field have paid much attention to The Waste Land’s more complex overarching theme of failed love, to the foreboding presence of Tiresias in the passage, and even to the figure of the typist as representative of the modern woman, less importance has been granted to the male actor in the scene—the vain, carbuncular clerk.22



Auden’s ‘Anthem for St. Cecilia’s Day’ and Tennyson’s ‘Palace of Art’

Thu, 28 Sep 2017 00:00:00 GMT

And by ocean’s margin this innocent virginConstructed an organ to enlarge her prayer,And notes tremendous from her great engineThundered out on the Roman air.Blonde Aphrodite rose up excited,Moved to delight by the melody,White as an orchid she rode quite nakedIn an oyster shell on top of the sea … (lines 5–12)11 No hagiography or commemorative ode places St Cecilia by the ocean. Tennyson, however, does in his ‘Palace of Art’ (1842), in a passage that is represented in John Waterhouse’s painting of St Cecilia (1895): Or in a clear-walled city on the sea,Near gilded organ-pipes, her hairWound with white roses, slept St. Cecily;An angel looked at her. (lines 97–100)22 Moreover, in the 1832 version, these lines had been preceded by the appearance of Venus: Or Venus in a snowy shell alone,Deepshadowed in the glassy brine,Moonlike glowed double on the blue, and shoneA naked shape divine.33 Though Britten had set several of Auden’s poems to music, the ‘Anthem’ was actually intended for Britten’s music and in a longer composition. Yet in early 1940, Auden, in his own words, ‘ “knew nothing[of] what is required of a librettist”.’44 The careful craftsman Auden, who usually sought models for his verse, was particularly ‘systematic’ in his preparations.55 Tennyson would have especially appealed to Auden as he meticulously reworked the poem. His introduction to his A Selection from the Poems of Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1944) states that ‘he is one of the few poets who has been able to write poetry which is meaningful in itself and at the same time settable to music’.66 Moreover, for this ‘most inclusive poet of the twentieth century’, the more antipathetic the authors’ beliefs, the more energizing the exchanges.77 Auden’s omission of this great poem from his Selection indicates that it was antipathetic indeed for this closet aesthete,88 whose relocation to New York in 1939 had sealed his rejection of the role as public sage for an English generation. For Auden, ‘He [Tennyson] had the finest ear of, perhaps, any English poet; he was also undoubtedly the stupidest; there was little about melancholia that he didn’t know; there was little else that he did’.99 A substantial part of the essay discusses this melancholia in relation to death, a central theme in Auden’s song of hope rearranged.[...]



Poul Anderson, Saxo Grammaticus, and the Idol of Arkona

Thu, 28 Sep 2017 00:00:00 GMT

POUL Anderson’s Time Patrol novelettes, later collected under the various titles The Guardians of Time, Time Patrolman, Annals of the Time Patrol, and The Shield of Time, repeatedly return to medieval settings and objects. In the first instalment, for example, the protagonist travels to Anglo-Saxon England after detecting a series of chronological disturbances in some Victorian archaeological reports. Calling his writing ‘fantasy with rivets’, Anderson aimed to achieve historical accuracy in his time-travel fiction. It is worth examining how he came by some of his medieval objects. Especially illuminating is his reference to Slavic idolatry in ‘Delenda est’, the second installment of the series, published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in December 1955.