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Frederick Bayle St. John

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Published : 41 Articles
Pen Names : None
Date of Birth : 19/8/1822
Death : 1/8/1859
Views : 3851

Author. Second son of James Augustus St. John. Until 1839 studied to become artist. For several years assisted his father in research for The History of the Manners and Customs of Ancient Greece, 1842. Contributed to Sunday Times, Penny Magazine, Fraser's (his "De Re Vehiculari" in Fraser's, 1842, has been misattributed to William Maginn), Foreign Quarterly Review, Chambers's, and other periodicals. For a time, Paris correspondent for Daily Telegraph. Travelled in Egypt and studied Arabic; lived at various times in France and in Italy. His books based on his travel and residence abroad included Adventures in the Libyan Desert, 1849; Two Years' Residence in a Levantine Family, 1850; The Turks in Europe, 1853; Purple Tints of Paris, 1854; The Subalpine Kingdom, 1856. Wrote also works of fiction, a biography of Montaigne. Helped found Ethnological Society and Syro-Egyptian Society.


In a letter to Wills, August 24 1854, from Boulogne (MS Huntington Library), Dickens wrote that he was returning the proof of "the nice little Eastern story"; the date of the letter indicates that the reference is probably to St. John's "The Betrothed Children". Dickens did not see the proof of "The Flying Artist" before the paper was in print; it was objectionable, he wrote to Wills, for reasons that he would later explain; "Notes from the Lebanon" Dickens dismissed as trivial (to Wills, August 31 1851; August 28 1854: MSS Huntington Library); "A Tale of a Pocket Archipelago", "as a, story", he thought "almost too blear-eyed to fall into the ranks" (to Wills, April 27 1856).

Morley's H.W. article "A Dip in the Nile" was based on St. John's Village Life in Egypt; Mrs. Linton's "A French Pepys" on his abridged translation of the Memoirs of Saint-Simon. In his article "Doctor Veron's Time", Sala suggested French social life of the First Empire as the subject for a book by "the ingenious author of 'Purple Tints of Paris'".

Of the items listed below as reprinted, "A Syrian Legend" is assigned in the Office Book merely to "St. John"; two of the items not reprinted—"A Border of the Black Sea" and "Love and Self-Love", both published in 1854—are also so assigned. Both items are obviously by Bayle St. John, who by 1854 had become a fairly regular H.W. contributor, rather than by his father, whose name is specifically recorded for only one item (in 1852). "A Border of the Black Sea" continues the discussion of Bulgaria begun in "Varna", which item is assigned to Bayle St. John. Bayle St. John may also be the author of "Old Cairo and Its Mosque", assigned in the Office Book merely to "St, John"

Harper's reprinted eight of St. John's H.W. contributions, without acknowledgment to H.W.

Author: Anne Lohrli; © University of Toronto Press, 1971.

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

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