Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Andrew Lang Selected Letters

I've been working hard to populate the repository with the Selected Letters of Andrew Lang (1844-1912).   An alumnus of the University, Lang was an author, historian and anthropologist who was perhaps best known for his extensive series of coloured Fairy books (12 from The Blue Fairy Book in 1889 to The Lilac Fairy Book in 1910).  The Library has a large collection of his letters and manuscripts as well as over 430 volumes of his books, and our Manuscripts Archivist Maia Sheridan has made a selection of almost 50 letters to provide a "taster" of the collection.  Most of the ones chosen for digitisation show Lang's relationship with two other St Andrean scholars, historian David Hay Fleming (1849-1931) and classicist, lexicographer and philologist Sir William Craigie (1867-1957).  A further 10 letters to his friend Mrs Herbert Hills (c.1845-1909) show him in a more relaxed, witty and unguarded mode.  I have very much enjoyed working with this archive, not least the challenge of deciphering Lang's handwriting, especially in the later letters.  The "abstract" field of the Islandora metadata form allows a transcription of the letters to be added and I decided to have a go at providing these myself. (They can be seen by clicking on the "information" icon within the manuscript reader).  I've had fun puzzling out some spidery conundrums, although a recalcitrant few remain.  The Hay Fleming and Mrs Hills letters have now all been transcribed, and I will continue working on the other two sections when I have time.  Meanwhile if anyone has suggestions for the question-marked blanks I've left, I'll be delighted to hear from them!

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