In literature, as in love, one can only speak for himself.
Andrew Lang (1844 - 1912) was one of the most important collectors of folk and fairy tales, which he edited into twenty volumes, from 'The Blue Book' onwards. Some of his best work is available from Wordsworth, in 'Tales from the Arabian Nights', 'Tales of Troy and Greece', and 'Tales from King Arthur'.
Andrew Lang was born on 31st March 1844 in Selkirk. Lang was the eldest of the eight children of John Lang, town clerk of Selkirk, and his wife, Jane Plenderleath Sellar, daughter of Patrick Sellar, factor to the first duke of Sutherland.
He was educated at Selkirk grammar school, and at the Edinburgh Academy, St Andrews University and at Balliol College, Oxford, where he took a first class in the final classical schools in 1868, becoming a fellow and subsequently honorary fellow of Merton College. He studied Latin and Greek, especially the Homeric texts, and began translations from the French the poetry of François Villon, Pierre de Ronsard, and others. Lang was also writing his own poetry, Ballads and Lyrics of Old France (1872) was his first publication. Other poetry collections include Ballads in Blue China (1880), Helen of Troy (1882), Rhymes à la Mode (1884), Grass of Parnassus (1888), Ban and Arriere Ban (1894), and New Collected Rhymes (1905).
On 17 April 1875 he married Leonora Blanche Alleyne, youngest daughter of C. T. Alleyne of Clifton and Barbados. As a journalist, poet, critic and historian, he soon made a reputation as one of the most able and versatile writers of the day. Many honours were bestowed on Lang during his lifetime, including Doctorates in Classics from the University of St. Andrews and Oxford, in 1885 and 1904 respectively. He was Gilford lecturer at St. Andrews in 1888. In 1911 he was voted President of the Psychical Research Society.
After many years of ill-health, Andrew Lang died on 20 July 1912 in Aberdeen, Scotland. He now rests in the cathedral precincts of St. Andrews. He now is best known as one of the most important collectors of folk and fairy tales. Wordsworth Editions publishes a selection of Lang’s works including Tales from the Arabian Nights and Tales from King Arthur.