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Margaret Oliphant and Andrew Lang were impressively prolific authors who responded to each other's periodical criticism and influenced each other's theories of life writing. Their reception history, however, has diverged sharply. While both writers fell out of fashion for much of the twentieth century, Oliphant's autobiography sparked new interest in her work among feminists and life-writing scholars, while Lang's lack of a definitive autobiography, along with the over-quotation of a few hostile letters by others, made him into a caricature. I examine Oliphant and Lang's good-humored sparring in "The Old Saloon" in Blackwood's and "At the Sign of the Ship" in Longman's, as well as their correspondence regarding Lang's Life of Lockhart (1896), as a way of drawing attention to their differing levels of authority as authors of criticism and life writing.