Andrew Lang’s ideas on the nature and sources of originality seem fated for renewed attention due to the ways they appear to have forecast or anticipated modern attempts to get beyond the celebration of individual creativity. But rather than simply illustrating recent theoretical truisms, Lang’s formulations, whether developed in his writings on myth or in his texts devoted to literary topics, present subtle and not easily resolved challenges to attempts to dissolve individuality and agency into a greater communal whole. For Lang, because the effective use of material from the past to arrive at new forms is the measure of individual creativity, no work can ever make a claim to absolute originality. However, the prestige of the author, though hedged about by survivals from a lost past, is not for that reason lost. To recognize the tension between inherited material and new achievement is to begin to do justice to the historical place and conceptual force of the Andrew Lang effect.
“He had entered literature through the ruined gateway of archaeology”Lang “Introduction” to Scott’s The Antiquary (1901)
“What matter who’s speaking, someone said, what matter who’s speaking?”Samuel Beckett, Texts for Nothing 3 (1953)
Andrew Lang can seem tailor-made for revival, given current critical preoccupations with the complexities of authorship of the sort suggested in my second epigraph, a text drawn from Beckett, but best known, even in literary studies, from its citation in Michel Foucault’s elaboration of the question in the seminal, “What is an Author” (1969). We may leave the reference to Foucault and the undeveloped mention of his source as two small markers standing in for an influential line of thought characteristic of the second half of the twentieth century, one that was preoccupied with putting into question what was taken to be a conservative and ultimately inaccurate vision of the author as free-standing, individual, fully autonomous. It is reasonable to ask how much Lang himself shares with this intellectual tendency when we read an early essay on the Kalevala (or Kalewala), the collection of traditional Finnish poetic material that had been assembled into something like a national epic earlier in the nineteenth century by the painstaking labor of Elias Lönnrot. Lang asks in 1872 a question that students of myth and folklore will recognize as characteristic of the debates in those areas with which Lang has been most closely associated. But it is a query with implications about the sources and nature of individual creativity likely to resonate with literary scholars as well:
The question would then come to be, Have the higher mythologies been developed, by artistic poets, out of the materials of a race which remained comparatively untouched by culture; or are the lower spirits, and the more simple and puerile forms of myth, degradations of the inventions of a cultivated class?“Kalevala” 677
The dilemma Lang describes is about authorship and how it is imagined in relation to both time and popular culture. He is asking whether we want to believe that the most ancient remains we find hidden in myths are to be understood as either (1) debased popular manifestations of material originally created in a more perfect form by members of a cultural elite or (2) elements developed by a culture long lost to memory, but which later authors make and remake into what we call their works. In his framing of the matter Lang can sound as though this is more of an open question for him than it in fact is. As Kathy Psomiades and Supritha Rajan demonstrate in their pieces in this special issue, Lang consistently argues that higher mythologies in fact develop from surviving material carried forward from a past so distant and so savage that modern creators are unlikely to remain fully in sympathy with it even while they are unable to escape its influence. Unlike Max Müller (and in keeping with E.B. Tylor), Lang does not think that myths were originally created by a cultural elite and then decayed to the condition in which we now encounter them. Lang’s Tylorian ideas, which are clear from his earliest work in the 1870s, are laid out with particular force in Modern Mythology (1897), a text designed as a polemic against Müller, in which “the question” of the essay on the Kalevala, viewed now through the prism of language, has grown after twenty years into a “general problem:”
The general problem is this: Has language—especially language in a state of ‘disease,’ been the great source of the mythology of the world? Or does mythology, on the whole, represent the survival of an old stage of thought—not caused by language—from which civilised men have slowly emancipated themselves? Mr. Max Müller is of the former, anthropologists are of the latter, opinion. Both, of course, agree that myths are a product of thought, of a kind of thought almost extinct in civilised races; but Mr. Max Müller holds that language caused that kind of thought. We, on the other hand, think that language only gave it one means of expressing itself.Modern Mythology ix
Like any number of modern and contemporary thinkers he anticipates, Lang holds that individual creative achievement in the present follows from and is based on material carried to us from the past. This concept of origins bears in its wake important implications, among them a striking relativism about religious practice and other fundamental structures that appear to shape contemporary life:
As the Kalevala, and as all relics of folklore, all Marchen and ballads prove, the lower mythology—the elemental beliefs of the people—do survive beneath a thin covering of Christian conformity. There are, in fact, in religion, as in society, two worlds, of which the one does not know how the other lives. The class whose literature we inherit, under whose institutions we live, at whose shrines we worship, has changed as outworn raiment its manners, its gods, its laws; has looked before and after, has hoped and forgotten, has advanced from the wilder and grosser to the purest faith. Beneath the progressive class, and beneath the waves of this troublesome world, there exists an order whose primitive form of human life has been far less changeful, a class which has put on a mere semblance of new faiths, while half-consciously retaining the remains of immemorial cults.“Kalevala” 676
Things still vital though their sources have been forgotten or suppressed, individual creativity arising from primal cultural material not fully available to the consciousness of the creator: one can see in moments such as this one not only why Lang was such an important figure to the founder of psychoanalysis (as Psomiades demonstrates, but also why he might tantalize contemporary attention. Indeed, the rich range of issues and texts addressed in this special issue demonstrates the many places at which Lang’s work connects with recent concerns. The centrality of networks, the identification of what is and is not a thing (and why that might matter), the circulation of culture as the shaping principal of culture itself, the sense that the past is at once what is lost and yet what shapes the present—for all their quite significant differences, these topics may be understood as so many ways to account for that characteristic concern of Lang, the inevitable return of survivals.
All the pieces in this issue register the tension between the figure of the network and the concept of the survival. We may be reminded here of Lang’s assertion that “plagiarism,” a topic that has driven some of the interest in Lang in recent years, and which gets a rich discussion in essays by Molly Clark Hillard and Letitia Henville, has its roots in the word for another reticulated form: plaga, Latin for net. But of course, a net does not foster and facilitate connections in quite the same way a network does. The lacings of a net are designed to reach into another medium and on the one hand allow unimpeded flow (of the water, say, or air) and on the other to arrest movement (of the fish or bird). But the lived experience of net and network can begin to look awfully similar at times. A network is made up of a proliferation of continuities, of lines that intersect as they take information or material from one place to another. A survival is something that is carried in the network of culture, that may even be understood to shape culture at a fundamental level; it is a kind of story that is told again and again, a form of belief or practice that has come to seem general, but the historical origins of which are not liable to recuperation. In that sense the material of culture can look less like a part of a net, and more like something caught in one.
The topic of survivals gains in interest the clearer we are on the range of potential responses to the fragments of a lost past. After all, over the years ancient statues have been blown up or allowed to decay; uncounted bronzes have been melted in order to cast cannon and other necessities as well as decorations, sacred and profane. Marbles have been burned to produce the lime required to compound the cement for new constructions of no certain distinction. Minervas, Apollos, Jupiters, and all kinds of minor deities and decorative figures, Ionic, Doric, and Corinthian columns, marble floors, and fragments—all have found their way into furnaces and kilns across Europe to be lost in the conflagration that indicates not the passionate rage of the first moments of a damnatio memoriae, but the utter indifference that follows on fundamental cultural change.
At other times, though less frequently than we might think, remains have been prized. Leaving aside for the time being our fragment-obsessed day—which has lasted a few centuries now—we can look back at bold and simple uses of past fragments going back to antiquity itself (e.g. the Hadrianic elements in the Arch of Constantine), whether for decorative or emblematic ends, or both. We find grand capitals from pagan Rome surmounting columns in churches, the columns themselves perhaps faced with valuable stone recovered from ancient sites. And then there are those complex symbolic forms of reuse that are unmistakably more than decorative, say when a synagogue or pagan temple becomes a church, when a church becomes a mosque, or when a mosque becomes a church. This is the kind of broad repurposing that keeps alive the memory of what it is replacing, a physical manifestation of fundamental cultural structures, such as the way in which a religion or sect preserves the memory of a system that it is working hard to displace: the way, say, Christianity keeps alive the sacred text and tenets of the Jews, by imagining the Hebrew Bible as an Old Testament in order to make possible the emergence of a New one. The Mosaic code itself survives in Christianity as that divinely-ordained moral system that allows the weakness of human ethical resources to be manifest, opening in turn the path to another kind of salvation. As Erich Auerbach reminded us decades ago, this basic structure subtends the kinds of repurposing of literary remains we call allegory.
Remains from a lost past come to us bearing not simply evidence of a vanished world, but also traces of the ways they have been preserved. Such relics are no more the thing itself as it was than is a fossil that preserves the form of a primitive organism by replacing each of its vulnerable organic molecules with more durable matter drawn from the surrounding environment. Even when no material metamorphosis has taken place, the changed context, and the break in continuity that change entails, both fundamentally alter the nature of the object. Lang’s work participates in a broad, nineteenth-century fascination with a topic at once historical and theoretical: the ways in which apparently foreign fragments shape a culture that is unable to fully recognize or recover the original source of those fragments. Thus, John Ruskin devotes important pages in Stones of Venice (1851-53) to describing the ways in which the Gothic craftsman took the Corinthian capital he inherited from antiquity back to nature—meaning both the acanthus plant on which the form was originally based and the individual fancy of the (re)maker who adapts the design according to his own imagination. Ruskin also describes a system of values in which the reuse of antique fragments becomes a humble confession of human imperfection, an active creative Christian piety.
That the nineteenth century was particularly interested in how objects of culture find their meaning through forms of loss and recovery, of survival, disappearance, and reemergence is also vividly manifested throughout the work of Walter Pater, an important friend and early supporter of Lang’s. Pater evokes in “The Beginnings of Greek Sculpture” (1880) memories of “those sanguine, half-childish dreams of buried treasure discovered in dead men's graves, which seem to have a charm for every one” (Greek Studies 221-222). And certainly, the fascination with recoveries from the sepulcher is constant in his work. Dead men’s graves proliferate notably in the accounts Pater gives in Marius (1885) and elsewhere of how early Christianity assured the continuity of pagan architecture and Hebrew poetry. Pater, for whom renaissance is always the central term, may well be our best guide to the nuances involved in any process of recovery because he is so clear on the double nature of classical recoveries, and so emphatic about the fact that there is something both reassuring and disturbing in rediscovering that with which you have always been living. The mixed feeling that Sigmund Freud would later call the uncanny is not simply anticipated in Pater; it is fundamental to his vision of culture. “The spiritual forces of the past, which have prompted and informed the culture of a succeeding age, live, indeed, within that culture,” writes Pater in “Winckelmann” (1867), his important early study of the founder of art history, “but with an absorbed, underground life.” The comment comes as a prelude to an important distinction about the classical tradition:
The Hellenic element alone has not been so absorbed, or content with this underground life; from time to time it has started to the surface; culture has been drawn back to its sources to be clarified and corrected. Hellenism is not merely an absorbed element in our intellectual life; it is a conscious tradition in it.Renaissance 158
A passage such as this one does double work. It traces the uncanny nature of classical returns in particular by insisting on the underground life of all the elements that make up culture. Continuities, apparent breaks, and partial returns: the historically-minded nineteenth century—well-prepared by the sophisticated historicism and fanciful anthropologies of the Enlightenment—was fertile ground for thinking about survivals from the past. The newly-consolidating disciplines of archeology and anthropology intersected with an ever-more sophisticated sense of classical antiquity (newly informed by both fields), and with the unavoidable force of concepts of inheritance advanced by figures as distinct as August Comte, Georg Hegel, and Charles Darwin. This is the nexus in which we need to place the figure of Andrew Lang, and his lifelong project of fostering a new relationship towards the remains of antiquity.
Late twentieth-century intellectual culture was prone to identifying moments in which the limits of absolute originality were thought to have been reached, and to seeing these as indications of the fallacious because incomplete nature of originality itself. Such moments of purposeful or unwitting recapitulation were understood to throw into question earlier and ostensibly naïve concepts of creative agency. But formulations in Lang’s own moment were far too complicated for these latter-day unmasking gestures to be truly compelling. After all, nineteenth-century theories seldom insist on absolute originality as the only measure of new creative achievement. For Lang, as for Oscar Wilde, the critical effort of remaking what we find in the world of culture is original creative work. Accordingly, for Lang, the network of culture cannot be understood as operating counter to concepts of individual achievement or novelty. No simple divide between “originality” and “derivation” can be sustained. As Lang writes in the “Literary Plagiarism” essay Henville describes in this issue, “[t]he newness may lie in force of fancy, or in charm of style . . . or in mere craftsman’s skill, or in high spirits, or in some unusual moral sympathy and insight, or in various combinations of these things.” “[W]hat is new,” he continues, is “the whole impact of the book as one thing” (832). In this expanded sense of originality, any reasonable reading of the process of networked production in which Lang sees himself working would have to recognize that creative individuals are necessary but not sufficient elements in the process of creation.
Recently the power of networks to do more than simply connect disparate elements has become clearer: computers have become more powerful in their processing capabilities because of being linked; servers provide a degree and form of information storage and access that is bound to change our ideas of information, storage, and access. And it would be wrong to see the issue as purely (or even largely) technical. Globalization, which is made possible by technology, but made inevitable by government policies, has resulted in networks—and even networks of networks—being the rule in industry. Factories in countries with cheap labor and lax regulations are linked to stores all over the world by interdependent webs of communication, finance, and transportation. And, of course, the recent and ongoing financial crisis, referenced in Supritha Rajan’s discussion of Lang’s relationship to economic theory, has vividly demonstrated the inescapable networks entwining the most far-flung and apparently disparate economic environments.
We can see the power of networks everywhere we turn, then, whether we look deeply or stop on the surface of our experience. Every day we turn on our computers and engage with the boundary-less system of information exchange that is the internet, and we may even recognize how we ourselves become nodes in informal networks of exchange when we relay information on the web through social media. All this is to describe networks that exist now, and that we know to be. What, if anything, is the heuristic power of identifying structures that are not so self-evident, that have left only relatively disconnected remains—like some fossil from which the paleontologist projects, always conjecturally and in a manner subject to later revision, the form of an entire prehistoric beast?
The recent drive towards identifying networks has arisen in large measure as part of a move towards minimizing the significance of the individual that is driven by a particularly modern desire, one well worth historicizing. After all, even Wilde, that great celebrator of the individual even in The Soul of Man Under Socialism (1891), insisted in conversation with André Gide that in art there is no first person. Wilde was working against the grain of those emerging ideologies of left and right that would either celebrate or decry the modern gain in power through loss of individuality that W. H. Auden would identify with the term “collective Man” (Auden 96). And indeed, authors in the nineteenth century were keenly aware of the politics driving claims for or against the identification of individual achievement.
The ironization of individual agency, the apparently technical and therefore unsentimental insistence on the communal sources of all significant cultural manifestations: these are some of the values driving the recent scholarly project of identifying networks. Lang himself gives us a sense of the political pedigree of such aspirations in his account of the Jacobinical sources for skepticism about the authorship of Homer: “Not till the French Revolution, and the storm of changed opinion which blew with it,” he reminds us, “did scholars seriously doubt whether there had indeed been any Homer, and seriously try to think that his magnificent unity of thought, of style, of manners, was the result of congeries of atoms, the work of many minds, in many ages.” No Lady Bracknell bemoaning the worst excesses of the French Revolution, Lang is characteristically urbane in his response to the project of doubting the authorship of the epics. “These questions,” he notes in a subtle formulation that suggests the dialectic that makes it very difficult to get outside the figure of the author, “have not injured Homer; nay they have stimulated to a more constant study of his poems, and have kept interest in them alive” (Homer and the Epic 9). The nineteenth century’s debates over questions of authorship and originality may be taken as both anticipations of later developments, and as offering subtler responses to the conceptual issues such debates involve than more recent polemics celebrating or critiquing the so-called death of the author might suggest. This problematic is at the heart of all of Lang’s major contributions to the study of culture. The concept of mythology he adapts from Tylor traces the sources of myths to primitive and anonymous creative drives, rather than to the popular corruption of more perfect formulations from the distant past of the sort Müller had identified. But it is striking that Lang does not move from the insight that creativity manifests itself in response to or even as a consolidation of prior cultural achievement to a sense of skepticism about individual achievement. He refuses to kill off the author, or even to sign his death certificate. It is an argument familiar from Lang’s account of plagiarism: placing material into new structures that lend it meaning is the very definition of creativity. The Iliad and the Odyssey, while “keeping all the fresh vivacity and unwearied zest of ‘popular’ poetry, are also masterpieces of conscious art” (Homer 7).
By the end of the long volume on Homer and the Epic, the Kalevala, which in the 1870s Lang had cited as a national epic, becomes an instance of precisely the kind of agglomerated textual thing that the Odyssey and the Illiad are not. Because Elias Lönnrot is no Homer, all that is important about the Finnish text is the access it affords to the raw pre-modern material—though that is certainly a great deal:
In spite of all this redacting, there is no organic or original unity in the Kalewala, all its merit, which is great and peculiar, is found in its deep sympathy with nature, its natural magic. This is the gift of native, untaught culture. This gives happiness and beauty and charm to a hard and poor life; this does for the people what civilization does not even begin to try to do: this culture civilization invariably destroys.Homer 418
“This culture civilization invariably destroys.” Such a formulation, with all its hard-nosed historicism, its commitment to cultural relativism, and its unsentimental sympathy for history’s vanquished forms, is characteristic of the charm and promise of the work of Andrew Lang. While the destructive power of civilization became something of an unspoken understanding not to say an inescapable cliché in twentieth-century culture (we may think of the more sentimental responses to the Benjamin of the “Theses on the Philosophy of History” ), we find it here in the course of an analysis of singularly clear-eyed rigor. For there to be a recovery or a survival, something must be lost. Andrew Lang helps us think through the contexts or networks in which survivals came to be, as well as about the processes of salvage and preservation by which they move in and out of later culture.
I noted above my hope that the epigraph from Beckett would serve to evoke the energy that developed around the project of challenging concepts of authorship in the post-war period. That most of us know the fragment in a somewhat different translation or in French may remind us that it is possible we associate it less with Beckett than with Foucault, who found a location for the evocative ambiguity of a formulation that is and is not quite a question, that is a near-palindromic confession of indifference, in his own essay into the question, “What is an Author?” Readers may want to return to Foucault from Lang affirmed in their sense that the coming into being of the author is a problematic development requiring constant correction, but that would be neither a compelling reading of Foucault nor a particularly interesting response to work that demonstrates so forcefully the long-standing nature of the question of authorship, and of the politics of attempting to identify creativity as a group activity. Evidently, it mattered to Lang very much that some one was speaking. He also knew well that much of what anyone ever says comes from places the speaker will never be able fully to acknowledge or even recognize. The conceptual sophistication motivating the play between insisting on the importance of authorship and denying absolute creativity is at the heart of the achievement of Andrew Lang.
Lang’s description of Scott in the first epigraph to this essay is evidently easily applicable to Lang himself, a liminal figure hovering by a ruined archway, somewhere between antiquity and the present, between archeology and literature, inviting us to peer through the entryway or, better yet, to look at the stones of the arch as we move inside it ourselves—to experience the moment of being between things. When one visits the shelves of nineteenth-century British literature at a local university library listing over 200 volumes by Lang in its catalogue, one finds only the four-volume edition of his poems and a couple of biographically-structured appreciations on the shelf. The rest of Lang’s works are scattered in sections devoted to different specializations: children’s literature, folklore, anthropology, the history of religion, not to mention off-site storage or microfilm, the purgatorial way stations for material the library believes it cannot fully place or use—forms of knowledge on the cusp of historical abandonment. The experience of working on Lang prior to the ready access provided by digitized texts would have been akin to needing to find the writings of Pater in shelves devoted to classics, history, and art history, or to locating Ruskin in collections dedicated to art history, architecture, economy, and perhaps even geology and meteorology—not to mention microfilm and off-site storage. It is not simply a matter of Lang’s diverse interests, and his influence in a range of fields, nor even of his fondness for collaboration, translation, and editing—though all of this contributes to the challenge Lang presents to contemporary criticism. Even his own writings have intriguingly attenuated centers: he writes not a life of Scott, but a life of Scott’s biographer and son-in-law, John Gibson Lockhart. His letters were destroyed on his instructions, and no library edition of the work has been prepared by any admiring acolyte.
To engage with the work of Lang at this point will either require a heroic effort to make him manageable in ways other unwieldy authors have been made so in the past, or it will call for something quite different. As I have suggested, and as the essays in this issue illustrate, the answer is likely to reside in an approach to Lang that makes the heterogeneous, distributed, wide-ranging quality of his work less a problem to be managed and more of an important and conceptually vital element of his achievement. In that sense, and with some irony, we do best to place Lang’s projects in the context in which they arose—the vibrant literary culture of post-Romantic Britain, with its technological and cultural drives for an ever-more diffuse literary sphere. To do so in the most interesting ways available would be to recognize both the fact of his pervasive influence in his own day and his anticipation of issues we cannot be said to have resolved today.
Each of the pieces in this issue engages with the ways in which Lang’s work does not simply anticipate and provide the basis for later developments in interpretation, but in fact challenges important critical truisms. For all the broad aspirations to escape the great-author model of creativity, it goes without saying that that hoary creature was a wonderfully useful principle for organizing analysis. To move the author to the side while keeping him in view allows the student of culture to triangulate on a number of key issues. Whether it is the temporal dislocation that becomes central for the process of theorizing in Kathy Psomiades’ piece, or the intellectual and conceptual force of collecting, gathering and reusing that concerns Molly Clark Hillard and Letitia Henville, the insights provided by attention to Lang are at once historical and theoretical. They consistently raise fundamental questions of value (e.g. what is the good of a broken thing, of returns to a past we are unable to recognize even as we feel we know it too well?) while revealing the frayed edges of all attempts to mark off the limits of culture (who is an author, what is original?). Henville’s counterintuitive attempt to think of ideas as things serves the salutary purpose of reminding us of the limits of forceful distinctions in this area when it comes to culture. Is a church a thing or an idea, after all? Is a story? Freud can embarrass his readers with the concreteness of his formulations, and so, we often remake them into metaphors. But there is something deeply physical about the imagination of perhaps the most influential figure shaped by the network of concept and fantasy that included Lang. From the experiences of the body in the Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (1905) to the actions of the primal horde in Totem and Taboo (1913), and including the odd turn to protozoa in Beyond the Pleasure Principle (1920), the movement from fact or matter to idea and back to lived experience in Freud is hard to negotiate without being reductive—without, that is, being almost vulgarly material or moving too quickly to a more rarefied figurative realm. As Psomiades says in her account of Freud, paraphrasing the Tylorian and Langian cultural theory he inherited, “primitive man is literal minded, and modern people are metaphoric” (24). Hillard’s piece, like Henville’s, helps us to see that the problem of moving from material to something more conceptual is itself written as much into Lang’s projects of gathering and republishing as into his discussions of plagiarism and his treatment of myth.
We sometimes use “ambivalence” and “irony” as euphemisms meant to politely indicate the presence of some kind of false consciousness. But, given the complicated kinds of causality that interest Lang, those terms are more useful as formal descriptions for the contradictions bound to emerge when consciousness tries to become aware of itself, to see itself at work. The sources of culture tantalized the nineteenth century, and its authors offered what are still the most powerful foundational formulations about the relationship between modernity and a lost past. Nevertheless, to describe sources we will never be able to see, but which nevertheless shape us and our desires (including the desires to know and not to know) is bound to be an impossible task. Interesting but unsustainable gaps are bound to open up, say (as Hillard describes) between the collector and the author.
The collection of fairy tales, which became the principal source of Lang’s public identity when most of his other work seemed fated to oblivion is a poignant practice. To collect folk knowledge, as European intellectuals did with increasing urgency throughout the nineteenth century, is to acknowledge the loss of immediate connection to traditional sources of culture—to the folk. In that sense, it marks not a repetition, but a return. And yet, the theoretical line that runs from Lang and other anthropologically-inclined students of folk tales to the formalists who followed them in the first quarter of the twentieth century insisted on the fact that these stories had never been (and could never be) lost. In this way, paradoxically, the idea of the collector as we see it in Benjamin and others is in a productive tension with the idea of survival. After all, what survives is not what has been self-consciously collected, but what could not be destroyed. It is here that the importance of Pater’s doubled concept of cultural survivals becomes apparent. Nothing is lost, but some things are returned to in a self-conscious effort of recovery while other returns are not conscious at all. Indeed, the fantasies of the collector notwithstanding, the process of recovery may well make the thing recovered less likely to accurately reflect the past than is the case for those unconscious survivals that were never truly left behind.
Supritha Rajan’s identification of the place of magic in discourses that are pushing towards a rationality that should make the topic impossible demonstrates with particular force how survivals often appear where they seem most out of place. It is inspired of her to identify in economics itself the location of some of our most powerful fantasies about the role of material forces in shaping events. More than a reductive relativism drives the comparison. Surely the fantasy that the freedom to profit as an individual is the most important condition for promoting the public good must be the most consequential modern manifestation of the long-standing tension between the object world and the desires that are projected upon it. It is in any case certainly plausible to posit that the magical thinking inherent in ideology of this sort is related to the role of magic in earlier times.
Given the tendency of the articles in this special issue to link Lang to various contemporary preoccupations, it is tempting to consider how some elements of Lang’s work might today be understood as themselves survivals, or if he himself might be placed in that category. However, this collection may do its most important work if it helps us to reflect that the placement of a survival, especially one with such marked affinities to the intellectual culture of one’s own day, calls for particular care. The culture that shaped Lang and that he in turn helped relay to later periods was remarkably subtle about the nature of cultural development itself. For this reason, to follow the example set by authors in the period would be one important way to take full advantage of the historical and conceptual power of the Andrew Lang effect.
Jonah Siegel, Professor of English at Rutgers University, is the author of Desire and Excess: The Nineteenth-Century Culture of Art (Princeton UP, 2000) and Haunted Museum: Longing, Travel, and the Art-Romance Tradition (Princeton UP, 2005), and the editor of The Emergence of the Modern Museum: An Anthology of Nineteenth-Century Sources (Oxford UP, 2008). His current projects include a study of the interplay of politics, desire, and the circulation of art around the Napoleonic period and another on the place of the material in nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century concepts of art.
On the background to this debate see Dorson, especially, 190-191.
Ruskin, 10: 232-238, 10:21-22. On reuse and re-adaptation in Ruskin, see Siegel, 197-224.
On a relationship that was central to the development of the work of both men see Robert Crawford’s important study.
In the course of her compelling case for the non-biological, pre-Darwinian sources of the thought of Edward Tylor, Margaret T. Hodgen identifies the importance of formulations drawn from the sciences of man of the previous century. See also Stocking.
“En art, voyez-vous, il n’y a pas de premiere personne” (Gide 46).
- Auden, Hugh Wynstan. “September 1, 1939.” Selected Poems. Ed. Eward Mendelson. New York: Vintage, 2007. 95-97. Print.
- Auerbach, Erich. “Figura.” 1944. Scenes from the Drama of EuropeanLiterature. New York: Meridien, 1959.11-76. Print.
- Beckett, Samuel. “Texts for Nothing.” Stories and Texts for Nothing. 1955. New York: Grove, 1967. Print.
- Benjamin, Walter. “Theses on the Philosophy of History.” 1950. Illuminations. Ed. Hannah Arendt. Trans. Harry Zohn. New York: Schocken, 1969. 253-264. Print.
- Crawford, Robert. “Pater’s Renaissance, Andrew Lang, and Anthropological Romanticism.” ELH 53.4 (1986): 849-79. Print.
- Dorson, Richard. The British Folklorists: A History. London: Routledge, 1968. Print.
- Foucault, Michel, “What is an Author.” Textual Strategies. Ed. Josue V. Harari. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1979. 141-60. Print.
- Freud, Sigmund. Beyond the Pleasure Principle. 1920. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud. Ed. J. Strachey. London: Hogarth Press, 1955. 18:1-64. Print.
- Freud, Sigmund. Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality.1905. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud. Ed. J. Strachey. London: Hogarth Press, 1955. 7: 125-245 Print.
- Freud, Sigmund. Totem and Taboo.1913. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud. Ed. J. Strachey. London: Hogarth Press, 1955. 13: 1-161. Print.
- Gide, André. Oscar Wilde. Paris: Mercure de France, 1905. Print.
- Hodgen, Margaret T. “The Doctrine Of Survivals: The History of an Idea.” American Anthropologist 33 (1931): 307-324. Print.
- Lang, Andrew. Homer and the Epic. London: Longmans, 1893. Print.
- Lang, Andrew. Introduction. The Antiquary by Walter Scott. Ed. Andrew Lang. London: Macmillan, 1901. Print.
- Lang, Andrew. “Kalevala, or; The Finnish National Epic.” Fraser’s Magazine ns 5 (1872): 667-677. Print.
- Lang, Andrew. “Literary Plagiarism.” Contemporary Review 51 (1887): 831-840. Print.
- Lang, Andrew. Modern Mythology. London: Longmans, 1897. Print.
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