An edition of the letters of George Augustus Sala to Edmund Yates in the Edmund Yates papers, the University of Queensland

McKenzie, Judy (1994). An edition of the letters of George Augustus Sala to Edmund Yates in the Edmund Yates papers, the University of Queensland PhD Thesis, School of English, Media Studies and Art History, The University of Queensland. doi:10.14264/uql.2016.412

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Author McKenzie, Judy
Thesis Title An edition of the letters of George Augustus Sala to Edmund Yates in the Edmund Yates papers, the University of Queensland
School, Centre or Institute School of English, Media Studies and Art History
Institution The University of Queensland
DOI 10.14264/uql.2016.412
Publication date 1994-01-01
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Peter Edwards
Total pages 332
Collection year 1994
Language eng
Subjects 19 Studies in Creative Arts and Writing
Formatted abstract

The sense of immediacy and individual identity transmitted through personal letters makes them unique sources of biography and history'. They capture the moment and the mood of the writer in the act of communication. They bring the past to life because they are so intimately associated with the human beings who inhabited it. As manuscripts they provide tangible evidence of the thoughts and actions of past lives, and as published collections they permit readers both to experience history from a particular point of view and to contemplate its unfolding from the privileged position of hindsight.

Reading personal letters as historical documents has the effect of reducing the grand sweep of history to individual experience by providing insights into the human action and interaction that shape it, the social dynamics that contribute to the complexity of why things are as they are. It is because they combine cause and effect with human personality in this way that personal letters are compelling reading for those with an interest in history and human nature, in the social forces and the interior forces that shape lives. Nowhere are biography and history more closely linked than in such letters. And therein Ues their special value, for they remind us of the paradox associated with writing history and biography: that although the aim of both is the pursuit of truth and order they can ultimately never claim to have found either. Letters remind us that history is composed of individuals in the act of experiencing, and of communicating their experiences to others, with all the variations of interpretation that suggests; to be credible any recording of the past must take into consideration a multitude of points of view. Thus neither the present, nor the past it becomes, is stable; both exist in a state of textual chaos that resists coherent ordering. This is not to say that history cannot be written, but rather that no written history can purport to be defmitive, or lay claim to truly represent the past.

The fact that letters cannot always be considered as reliable evidence is in keeping with the view of history as a state of textual confusion.      ...........................
Keyword Sala, George Augustus, - 1828-1895 - Correspondence
Yates, Edmund, - 1831-1894 - Correspondence
Additional Notes Spine title: GAS to EY

Document type: Thesis
Collection: UQ Theses (RHD) - UQ staff and students only
Citation counts: Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Thu, 30 Jul 2015, 02:24:03 EST by Mr Andrew Martlew on behalf of Scholarly Communication and Digitisation Service