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Edward Burne-Jones letter to Cormell Price, 1853 May 1

 Item — Box: 1, Folder: 3
Call Number: MSS 45

Scope and Contents

Burne-Jones congratulates Price on his "dutiful and exemplary" conduct, developed "for many years under [Burne-Jones's] auspices." He adds: "it gives me encouragement that the philosophical notions I have inculcated, and wh. have brought such fruits in you, will be equally productive in others." However, so that Price is not "unduly puffed-up," Burne-Jones goes on to jovially criticize Price's "volatile, hurry-scurry, hyper-condensed" writing style.

Burne-Jones comments that he is glad that he and Price share a similar taste in poetry, noting that "if Tennyson affords you as many hours of unmitigated happiness -- I speak without affection here -- as he has to me, you will look with gratitude to any who helped you to appreciate him -- when I take up the works of any other poet, save Shakespeare only, I seem to have fallen from the only guide worth following far to dream-land." He goes on at length to describe the ways in which poets capture unexpressable emotion, referencing Friedrich von Schlegel's term "sighing after the Infinite."

Burne-Jones notes that he has devoted hours to contemplating Tennyson's "Tears, Idle Tears." He answers Price's question about Tennyson's "Locksley Hall," stating that the term "gleams" refers to the curlews in the poem. Burne-Jones recommends the work of the poet Alexander Smith, stating that "his writing is almost incomparable, although his aim is evidently more subjective and metaphysical."

Burne-Jones describes a visit from his uncle. He goes on to give Price an account of their mutual friends. Burne-Jones remarks that he has been amusing himself by pouring basins of water on the crowd below the window. He warns Price that if the Chevalier Count George Jones ever tours Birmingham, he should not go to see him perform on account of his "mangling" of Shakespeare. Burne-Jones tells Price that he is relying on him to join him in founding a "Brotherhood" of which Sir Galahad is to be patron and that he has already enlisted somebody for the order.


  • 1853 May 1


Physical Description

1 folded sheet (4 pages) : autograph letter signed ; 23 x37 cm, folded to 23 x 19 cm

Conditions Governing Access

From the Collection:

The materials are open for research.

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English


Addressed from Oxford. Addressed to Price (on outer leaf) "to be left at Mr. Jones'," 11 Bennetts' Hill, Birmingham. With one penny stamp and wax seal. With cross writing, pages 1-2. Signed: "Yours, old buffer, for ever, Ted, General of the order of Sir Galahad"


References: Harrison & Waters, p. 10; Georgiana Burnes Jones, v.1, p. p. 76-79

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