William R. McKelvy

William R. McKelvy

William R. McKelvy

William R. McKelvy, assistant professor, Department of English, Washington University in St. Louis, has published The English Cult of Literature: Devoted Readers, 1774-1880 (2007) and numerous articles on Alfred Tennyson, George Eliot, Thomas Babington Macaulay, John Keble, and William Ewart Gladstone. His areas of interest include the epic, the Kunstler-roman, historiography, book history, the history of education, the theory and practice of textual criticism, and late eighteenth-century theological controversies. His next book-length project is an interdisciplinary study that engages with histories of production and consumption, tentatively entitled Copy Rites.

McElvy’s paper, “The Importance of Being Ezra: Canons and Conversion in The Moonstone, connecting Wilkie Collins's naming of Ezra Jennings in The Moonstone to the controversial historical criticism of biblical texts that commanded so much attention in the 1860s, contends that such an investigation will show how our understanding of the debates about biblical authority needs updating in the context of The Moonstone's prominent themes of religious difference experienced on colonial and imperial terms.

John William Colenso. The Pentateuch and Book of Joshua Critically Examined. London: Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts & Green, 1862-79.

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John William Colenso. The Pentateuch and Book of Joshua Critically Examined. London: Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts, & Green, 1862. 

Letter from Wilkie Collins, to W. R. S. Ralston. <br />
20 October 1881.

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Letter from Wilkie Collins, to W. R. S. Ralston. 20 October 1881.

Ralston, an expert on Russian life and literature and a translator of Russian literature, was a member of staff of the British Museum in the late 1860s and early 1870s. In this letter Collins regrets not being able to attend dinner with Ralston and Ivan Turgenev and recounts a story involving one of Ralston’s translations of Turgenev’s stories. 

I don’t remember whether Dante’s Hell includes among its tortures Gout in the Eyes. If the Divine Poet has not anticipated me, I may claim without presumption to have invented an infernal circle of my own, and to have suffered in it lately for more than three months. My sight is saved—and I am steadily on the way to recovery. But to my sincere regret, I am not not yet quite strong enough to take my place at your table on Saturday next. it is really a disappointment to me to miss the opportunity of meating [sic] Mr. Tourgéneff, and of thanking him for the happy hours that I owe to his masterly and delightful pen. Do you remember kindly giving me your translation of one of his most subtly and delicately treated stories? In cautiously opening the book, with a hard day’s work before me, I scattered “the materials of our craft” to the winds, and spent the day with “Lisa.”

Be my good friend still—and accept my thanks and my excuses.

 

- Exhibition Text by Melinda Creech

Wilkie Collins. The Moonstone. New York, Harper & Brothers, Publishers, 1868.

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Wilkie Collins. The Moonstone. A Novel. New York, Harper & Brothers, Publishers, 1868.

This is the first American edition of this novel.

Wilkie Collins. The Haunted Hotel: a Mystery of Modern Venice ; to Which is Added My Lady's Money. London: Chatto & Windus, Piccadilly, [1880?].

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Wilkie Collins. The Haunted Hotel: a Mystery of Modern Venice; to Which is Added My Lady's Money. London: Chatto & Windus, Piccadilly, [1880?].

This volume contains numerous illustrations drawn by Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s brother, Octavius Moulton-Barrett.

William R. McKelvy