The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

July 20, 2016

July 20, 1912

In The Invention of Telepathy, 1870-1901 (2002) by Roger Luckhurst, we discover Andrew Lang (March 31, 1844 to July 20, 1912) played a significant part. He was remembered at his death as "a poet, leader-writer, critic, novelist, classicist, translator, Scottish historian, fairy-tale and myth collector, folklorist, anthropologist, and psychical researcher." Luckhurst has parsed Lang's contributions to elucidate a critic who had significant influence over popular taste:

A worshipper of Sir Walter Scott, Lang was one of the engineers of the romance revival, hailing Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island. He advocated the imperial adventures of Rider Haggard and Rudyard Kipling on their first appearance in the late 1880s...Lang regarded the romance as a virile, masculine riposte to Decadent and Naturalist fiction, novels which had an "almost unholy knowledge of the nature of women." Against this over-refined interiority, Lang juxtaposed the vitality of the romance whose energies he related to "the ancestral barbarism of our natures"....

Luckhurst is an acute cultural historian, the author of other books, like The Mummy's Curse: The True History of a Dark Fantasy (2012) and The Trauma Question (which traces the effect of this idea on the modern conception of the self (2013)). It was however an older book, Roger Lancelyn Green's Andrew Lang: A Critical Biography (1946) wherein we discovered that Andrew Lang named his black cat, "Semiramis". Since this name was that of an Assyrian queen credited with monumental structures, and a lusty nature, we think that means Lang found some kind of rapprachement with "the nature of women."

No comments: