Elderfield, Otterbourne, Winchester.
Novr 10th 1878

MS British Library Add MSS 54921: 70-71

Dear Mr Macmillan

Thank you very much for sending me this very severe review in the Academy.1 I feel annihilated, and if my old name does carry off this edition, I will gladly rewrite what calls for it. I really did not know that German criticism had overthrown so much of the old Spanish standard histories to which I trusted, especially for a mere epitome of the old Gothic kingdom, and as I did not want to write a history of Spain, I only knew that Dozy had attacked the Cid, and I obtained that volume. I see I ought to have gone further into the matter and that I should have enquired further, but when I found Viardot agree with the elder histories I thought him a safe guide, more likely to lead me right than my own readings in Dozy would. I do not think I know German well enough to work from critical notes, and indeed I never heard of the German books about Spain Mrs Ward mentions2

I see there are some bits of slovenliness which after the usual unfortunate fashion only strike me too late – such as the mistake in Ingund’s story, in Ayala’s name and about Conde. I am very sorry for these, and feel myself to blame, and I will repair all I can if there is an opportunity. I meant to be sketchy but I ought to have exerted myself more to catch the present level of knowledge

If Mrs Ward was once Miss Mary Arnold, it is like the old champion getting a fall from the young one, for I think she once was one of my Gosling Society

I wish the book had been at my own expense

Yours sincerely
C M Yonge

1Mary Augusta (Arnold) Ward reviewed The Story of the Christians and Moors in Spain in very critical terms in Academy (16 November 1878) 463-4, pouring scorn on its scholarship and suggesting that CMY wrote too much too quickly. T. Humphry Ward, her husband, had also recently reviewed unfavourably A Man of Other Days: Recollections of the Marquis Costa de Beauregard 2 vols (London, Hurst & Blackett 1877), a translation (probably by Julian Yonge) which appeared with CMY's name as editor.
2Ward had referred to the works of Felix Dahn and Friedrich Wilhelm Lembke.

Cite this letter

The Letters of Charlotte Mary Yonge(1823-1901) edited by Charlotte Mitchell, Ellen Jordan and Helen Schinske.

URL to this Letter is: https://c21ch.newcastle.edu.au/yonge/2649/to-alexander-macmillan-132

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