The George Borrow Society Bulletin, Spring 2012

Cover of the current George Borrow Bulletin The Spring 2012 George Borrow Bulletin is now out (Series 2, No. 4).

Members should have received their copy during June 2012.

With this issue we’re introducing abstracts of the main articles and also giving some information on the contributors. We hope to expand this area in future.

Sent out with this Bulletin was information on the Eighth Fraser Memorial Lecture, which will be held in the International Students’ House, Great Portland Street, London, at 2 p.m. on 18th August 2012. Please can members send the form back to Dr Ann Ridler if they are attending as we have to plan for the catering. Non-members are more than welcome to attend.

Also included with the Bulletin was a flyer for John Hentges’ The Borrow Translations, Series 2—John’s wonderful CD of readings of Borrow’s translations.

The next edition of the George Borrow Bulletin is being prepared and should be out in Autumn 2012.

George Borrow Bulletin 2nd Series nº 4 (Spring 2012)




Membership of the Society



Burleigh, Richard

(1) Founder Member Professor Emeritus Michael Collie (1929–2011)


Ridler, Ann

(2) Dennis Burton (1931–2011), a note from the Editor

Recent events



(1) George Borrow Society viewing of the National Portrait Gallery’s Borrow portraits and Christmas lunch, 2–3 December 2011



(2) A new plaque to commemorate Borrow in Madrid



(3) Meeting at Salisbury, 13–15 April 2012

Forthcoming events



(1) Visit to Gibraltar, 27 September–1 October 2012



Events Secretary



Ridler, Ann M.

‘The plague of my heart’: some reflections on the Peter Williams chapters and on the sin against the Holy Ghost


Laurie, Kedrun

1956: René Fréchet, Louis Aragon and post-war French interest in Borrow, Part 1, René Fréchet


Hyde, George

George Borrow and Victorian translation

Notes and Queries


Hitchcock, Richard

(1) Some remarks on the Peter Williams chapters of Lavengro


Missler, Peter

(2) Gypsy Luke Project (3)—further results, a note


Parry-Jones, Chas

(3) More on the White Horse Inn at Pentraeth, Anglesey


Ridler, Ann M.

(4) An echo in Lavengro of the artists Albrecht Dürer and Joseph Mallord William Turner? A note



More Borrovian Music



John, Jeremy

(1) Jasper Rees, Bred of Heaven, reviewed


Hopkins, Simon

(2) John Hentges, The Borrow Translations, Series 1, CD reviewed


Kerrigan, Colm

(3) Moises Enrique Rodriguez, Under the Flags of Freedom, reviewed




Press Cuttings






Borrow On-Line



Borrow on the Radio



The George Borrow Trust: Essay Competition 2012–13



Borrow Portrayed (4)


Hentges, John

A Genius For Friendship—Reminiscences of the late Dennis Burton



The Society’s New Website


Ridler, Ann M.

Checklist of Publications on Borrow since the 1981 Centenary



Back Numbers of Bulletins, Binders and Proceedings


Dr Ann Ridler

Ann Rilder Dr Ann Ridler graduated from Oxford as a modern linguist in 1956. Now retired, she was professionally involved in course validation and the accreditation of institutions in further and higher education (1969–1999). Her PhD (CNAA, 1983) was on the subject of‘George Borrow as a Linguist’ and her thesis was subsequently printed for private circulation in an edition of 100 copies (1996). She has been engaged in research on Borrow since 1975. A founder member of the George Borrow Society, she has been Chairman since 1997 and has edited the George Borrow Bulletin since 1991.

Dr Kedrun Laurie

Dr Kedrun Laurie Dr Kedrun Laurie was formerly Assistant Curator of the Geffrye Museum in London, specialising in the history of interiors and costume. She subsequently worked for some years as a consultant on the restoration of historic parks and gardens. She received her doctorate in English Literature from King’s College London in 2003. Her thesis, entitled ‘“If I had Wings”: country writers and the claims of conservation’, included a chapter on George Borrow. She now works as an independent scholar in Belgium with a particular interest in the art and literature of the long nineteenth century.

Dr George Hyde

George Hyde Dr. George Hyde read English at Cambridge with F.R. Leavis (1959–62) and Comparative Literature at Essex with Donald Davie (1966–69). He spent thirty odd years teaching at the University of East Anglia, with long periods as Visiting Professor in Poland and Japan. Publications include full length studies of Vladimir Nabokov and D.H. Lawrence, and numerous essays and translations in the fields of Russian and Polish literature.

Peter Missler

Peter Missler Peter Missler was born in 1959 in Amersfoort (The Netherlands). He briefly studied Philosophy at the University of Utrecht before moving to Paris, where he mainly exercised as bohemian. After four years as bookseller, house-cleaner, electrician, hotel attendant and metro-busker, he returned to Holland to earn a degree in Egyptology from the University of Leiden. In 1993 he moved to Granada, Spain, and two years later to Santiago de Compostela. He is a member of the George Borrow Society and a regular contributor to the George Borrow Bulletin. These Bulletin articles resulted in two book-sized studies: A Daring Game in 2009 and The Treasure Hunter of Santiago in late 2010. Peter Missler presently lives in Brion, west of Santiago, with his wife Palmyra, their son Yasin and the Homeric sheep-dog Argos.


‘The plague of my heart’: some reflections on the Peter Williams chapters and on the sin against the Holy Ghost, by Ann M. Ridler

This paper attempts a completely new interpretation of the character of the preacher Peter Williams in Lavengro, by reference to a previously unstudied source, where it is claimed that Borrow based his character on the great Welsh pastor Christmas Evans. The writer has also sought to offer a new analysis of the dream-like setting of these chapters, the theme of the sin against the Holy Ghost considered in relation to an important passage from the 17th century divine Thomas Fuller, the character of the preacher’s wife and the nature of Lavengro’s involvement with Peter Williams.


Professor René Fréchet of the Sorbonne (1910–1992) was the author of the only full-length book on Borrow in French, George Borrow, (1803–1881), vagabond polyglotte, agent biblique, écrivain (1956). Appearing at a time when Borrow’s reputation was in temporary eclipse, it was not widely reviewed, and his subsequent La Bible en Espagne: aventures d’un colporteur pendant la guerre carliste(1967), a translation, with scholarly introduction, of Borrow’s Bible in Spain, even less so. This article makes clear the quality and integrity of Fréchet’s work and presents a biographical study of the man himself, with particular reference to the Irish studies which were to crown his academic career.

George Borrow and Victorian translation, by George Hyde

Borrow hoped to find fame and fortune as a translator, but this was not to be. His work in this field, however, resulted in many significant versions of poems from Welsh and Danish in particular, and a scattering of Russian and Polish and other Slav poems, as well as many more of the forty or so languages he knew to some extent. His work in Welsh is particularly interesting in the context of the Victorian fascination with what Arnold referred to as “the Celtic element” in English culture, and his claim to pre-eminence in this field was not ill-founded, culminating in the impressive version of Ellis Wynn’s The Sleeping Bard. Equally interesting is his version of Pushkin’s Tsygany, not published until Clement Shorter’s collected edition (1924). If published when written, in the 1830s, it would have radically influenced the English reception of Russian literature.

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