The Selected Prose of John Gray
Publication Year: 1992
Published by: ELT Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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I wish to thank Father Timothy Radcliffe, O.P., Prior Provincial of the Dominican Order in England, for permission to use the Gray material, both written and photographic, originally from their archives in Blackfriars, Edinburgh, and now in the National Library of Scotland. ...
Introduction: John Gray's Prose
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To most readers, John Gray is known, if at all, as a minor poet of the nineties. Almost every anthology of the decade lists two or three of his poems, usually taken from his first book, Silverpoints. Published in 1893, Silverpoints achieved a certain notoriety for its "decadent" verse, although its reputation may have sprung, ...
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As an editor, I followed the principle that he who edits best, edits least. John Gray has his own quite idiosyncratic style, partly due to the fact that he was self-educated. In the earlier pieces, the grammar is not always secure (although sometimes it is merely awkward). ...
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Gray's first publication appeared in the inaugural edition of The Dial, a journal which was to set new standards in England for typography and format. Its editors, Charles Ricketts and Charles Shannon, were engravers and art collectors. Ricketts, whose mother was French, was particularly knowledgeable about the new artistic and literary movements in France ...
"The Great Worm"
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In this story. Gray pays tribute to Oscar Wilde, whose book of fairy stories, The Happy Prince and Other Tales, was published in May 1888. The "Worm" is, of course, a dragon, and the style of Gray's story plays whimsically with the medieval/modem vogue of the Pre-Raphaelites. ...
"The Person in Question"
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Left in typescript at Gray's death among the papers bequeathed to the Dominican Chaplaincy, Edinburgh, the location of the original is now unknown. It was first printed as The Person in Question (Buenos Aires: Colombo, 1958), with a note by Patricio Gannon, and later reprinted as "The Person in Question," ...
"The Modern Actor"
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"The Modem Actor" was originally a lecture given in conjunction with Oscar Wilde to the Playgoers' Club on 7 February 1892. In their separate lectures, both Gray and Wilde proposed a common theme, the radical redefinition of the actor: Wilde arguing that puppets would be preferable to actors; ...
"The Loves of the Age of Stone"
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A baleful little piece in which the mores of Stone Age life make mockery of the word "love," and finally dismiss it altogether from the brutal power struggles which define its society. Gray's interest in the primitive—which he retained to the end of his life—is evident in his knowledge of neolithic artefacts and customs. ...
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An example of Gray's naturalistic style, it reminds one (as Zaina remarks) "of some of the stories in the Keynotes series by writers who had read their Maupassant" (p. 77). Gray's father, a wheelwright, was clearly a model for "Old Gouth"—and his perversity might reflect a family trait, as Gray himself at this time often consciously acted against the grain. ...
"The Advantages of Civilization"
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The origin of the story probably lies in the incidents surrounding the visit of a young Catholic Zulu (called Mtembu) who came with a missionary priest and nun to stay with Andre Raffalovich in London. Gray's sister recalls that her brother was "very interested" in Mtembu. ...
"The Yellow Princess"
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"The Yellow Princess" was probably among those stories offered John lane in December 1893. Gray's acquaintance may well have identified as its model Alice, Princess of Monaco (1858-1925). Born Heine, a grand-niece of the poet, she was the widow of the Duc de Richelieu, marrying her second husband, Prince Albert Honore Charles of Monaco, in 1889. ...
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Originally titled by Gray "For Worse: Angela, " the typescript marks this story as the third part of a series (as far as is known, there are no other parts extant). The original title has been crossed out and the present one written above it in the hand of Gray's companion, Andre Raffalovich. ...
"The Redemption of Durtal"
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Joris-Karl Huysmans (1848-1907) became associated with the naturalists and—after the publication of his notorious novel, A Rebours (1884)—the decadent movements of the late nineteenth century. Its hero, the dandy Des Esseintes, is succeeded in Là—Bas and En Route by Durtal, whose spiritual progress from Satanism through Mysticism ...
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It is known from a letter of Gray to John Lane, 11 December 1893 (Berg Collection, New York Public Library), that "Niggard Truth" was written by that date. During this winter, Gray was devoting himself to the poetry that was to appear in Spiritual Poems (1896) and was thus preoccupied with spiritual issues. ...
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At the time Gray discovered the book of Jacopone da Todi's poems, in December 1893, he seems to have been on holiday in Edinburgh. A short time afterwards he began his translation of "O Love, all love above" (the holograph copy is dated 18 May 1894) which was to form the nucleus of his Spiritual Poems (1896). ...
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After he was dismissed as art editor of The Yellow Book in the spring of 1895, Beardsley was supported by commissions, and later by a regular allowance, from Andre Raffalovich. Raffalovich's concern also extended to Beardsley's spiritual well-being and, following his own conversion from Judaism to Catholicism, ...
"God-made and Machine-made"
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Blackfriars was founded in 1921 and published in Oxford by Basil Blackwell as the voice of the English Dominican Order, to which Gray was affiliated as a Third Order (or lay) brother. ...
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Father Gray was a dedicated hillwalker from the early days of his priesthood in Edinburgh. He would take off when he could find a day or two from this usual schedule and regularly, during the summers, spend two or three weeks walking in the Cotswolds and the West Country, usually with a companion. ...
"Man's Visible Works"
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Here Gray attacks the notion that man's artefacts ruin a landscape. In a vigorously unsentimental essay, Gray argues that these may well constitute reasonable additions to the natural scene. As an exercise in persuasion, it may well serve as a model as to how to examine conventional assumptions ...
"Hymns: A Suppressed Preface"
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The essay was written originally as a preface to St. Peter's Hymns (Kensington: Cayme Press, 1925), a book of hymns composed by Gray for use in his parish church of St. Peter's, Falcon Avenue, Edinburgh. In rejecting the "really vile use of vernacular hymns, which are chopped up arbitrarily in their singing," ...
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Another of the essays arising from Gray's walking tours, this one charts an expedition in early January over the Tweed to Yarrowdale and St. Mary's Loch, an area associated with the poets James Hogg and Robert Burns. It was also intimately associated with Gray's own poetry. ...
"Trespassers Will Be Prosecuted"
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This is a whimsical meditation on the wording of certain public notices. It should be noted that it is Gray's first essay purely on language, indicating a shift in artistic direction. Previously, he had told stories. After the nineties, he does not trust the coherence of his writing to narrative, ...
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"Dialogue" was inspired by the publication of J. A. H. Murray's A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles (now The Oxford English Dictionary), of which the first part (A-Ant) was published in 1884, but the last volume not until the year of this essay, 1928. The essential feature of the Dictionary is its historical method, ...
Park: a fantastic story
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As a book, Park was printed at Gray's own expense by the small art-press of Rene Hague and Eric Gill at Pigotts, near Hughenden in Buckshire, and published by Sheed and Ward. One of the early publications from Pigotts, Park is printed in the Joanna Italic which had been specially designed for the Press by Gill. ...
Notes to the Prose
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About the Typography
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Page Count: 316
Publication Year: 1992