Sealed of the Tribe of Louis
From Adventures among Books (1905) 42–52. Andrew Lang (1844–1912), poet, essayist, historian, came from an old Border family at Selkirk, where his father was sheriff-clerk. From his earliest days he was fascinated by myth and balladry. His education, referred to briefly here, was at Edinburgh Academy, prior to Stevenson’s arrival, followed by St Andrews and Oxford, where he became a fellow of Merton College (1868). His prolific output included works on folklore, such as Myth, Ritual and Religion (1899), on Greek literature, several books of verse, anecdotal memoirs, and contributions to Scottish history; among his biographies the best known is Life and Letters of J. G. Lockhart (1896). He was one of the founders of the Psychical Research Society and its President (1911). Lang’s initial response to Stevenson was lukewarm, but friendship grew, and Lang paid tribute on his death. (See ‘The Late Mr. R. L. Stevenson’, Illustrated London News, 5 Jan 1895; ‘Robert Louis Stevenson’, Longman’s Magazine, Feb 1895, and ‘Recollections of Robert Louis Stevenson’, North American Review, Feb 1895). Stevenson was similarly wary of Lang: ‘too good-looking, delicate, Oxfordish … a la-de-dady Oxford kind of Scot’ (quoted in Knight, Treasury, 104). They were friendly enough by the summer of 1881, however, for Stevenson to solicit a testimonial from him in support of his bizarre attempt to gain the chair of History and Constitutional Law at Edinburgh University.
KeywordsGreek Literature Oval Face Arabian Night Merton College December 1873
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