Andrew Lang (1844-1912) 


Lang was born in Selkirk. Scotland. He was the eldest of the eight children born to John Lang, the town clerk of Selkirk, and his wife Jane Plenderleath Sellar, He was educated at Selkirk Grammar School and at St Andrews University as well as Balliol College Oxford, where he gained a first class in the final classical schools in 1868, becoming a fellow and subsequently honorary fellow of Merton College. He soon made a reputation as one of the most able and versatile writers of the day.

Lang Known primarily as a historian, literary critic, and translator (he put out "new versions" of the Arabian Nights and of the Iliad and the Odyssey), he collected and adapted dozens of fairy tales in a veritable rainbow of books between 1889 and 1907 and these as well as his other children’s story books are listed here. Many of the books were joint efforts with his wife, Leonora Blanche Lang. As an influential critic with a column in Longman's magazine, Lang advocated romance over realism. In this critical capacity, he championed Robert Louis Stevenson and H. Rider Haggard, with whom he collaborated on The World's Desire, a "sequel" to The Odyssey, in 1890 Fairy tales and other childhood mythologies represented an important strain in Victorian thought, in which fantasy and imagination were recognized as important seats of learning and education. (http://www.online-literature.com/andrew_lang/)

Lang is now chiefly known for his publications on folklore, mythology and religion. In Myth, Ritual and Religion (1887) he explained the "irrational" elements of mythology as survivals from more primitive forms. Lang's Making of Religion was heavily influenced by the 18th century idea of the ‘noble savage’: in it, he maintained the existence of high spiritual ideas among so-called "savage" races, drawing parallels with the contemporary interest in occult phenomena in England. His first fairy book was The ‘Blue’ fairy book (1889) it was a beautifully produced and illustrated edition that has become a classic. This was followed by many other collections of fairy tales as listed here. In the preface of the Lilac Fairy Book he credits his wife with translating and transcribing most of the stories in the collections and she took over the books when he died in 1912.

Henry Justice Ford (1860-1940)

H. J. Ford is perhaps best known for his collaboration with Andrew Lang on the series of Coloured Fairy Books. He had a somewhat unusual career for an illustrator. Born in London, where he spent most of his life, he attended Repton and won a scholarship to Clare College, Cambridge, from which he graduated with a first-class degree in classics. After graduation, he studied at the Slade school of Art with Alphonse Legros and the Bushey school of Art. He exhibited history paintings and landscapes at the Royal Academy between 1892 and 1903. In addition to creating illustrations for the Fairy Books, he also produced many historical subjects set from the Middle Ages to the eighteenth-century for Lang's The Red True Story Book (1895) and other works. He also illustrated The Arabian Nights Entertainments (1895) and Pilgrim's Progress (1921). (http://www.victorianweb.org/art/illustration/ford/)

This web site shows all the first editions of the fairy, poetry and story books edited by Andrew Lang and his wife. Most are illustrated by H. J. Ford. The front cover and in many cases an illustration are shown with information including the publisher, illustrator and edition details.

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