Online Encyclopedia

JAMES HANNAY (1827—1873)

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Originally appearing in Volume V12, Page 920 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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JAMES HANNAY (1827—1873), Scottish critic, novelist and publicist, was born at Dumfries on the 17th of February 1827. He came of the Hannays of Sorbie, an ancient Galloway family. He entered the navy in 184o and served till 1845, when he adopted literature as his profession. He acted as reporter on the Morning Chronicle and gradually obtained a connexion, writing for the quarterly and monthly journals. In 1857 Hannay contested the Dumfries burghs in the Conservative interest, but without success. He edited the Edinburgh Courant from 1S6o till 1864, when he removed to London. From 1868 till his death on the 8th of January 1873 he was British consul at Barcelona. His letters to the Pall Mall Gazette " From an Englishman in Spain " were highly appreciated. Hannay's best books are his two naval novels, Singleton Fontenoy (1S5o) and Eustace Conyers (1855); Satire and Satirists (1854); and Essays from the Quarterly Review (1861). Satire not only shows loving appreciation of the great satirists of the past, but is itself instinct with wit and fine satiric power. The book sparkles with epigrams and apposite classical allusions, and contains admirable critical estimates of Horace (Hannay's favourite author), Juvenal, Erasmus, Sir David Lindsay, George Buchanan, Boileau, Butler, Dryden, Swift, Pope, Churchill, Burns, Byron and Moore. Among his other works are Biscuits and Grog, Claret Cup, and Hearts are Trumps (1848); King Dobbs (1849) ; Sketches in Ultra-marine (1853) ; an edition of the Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, to which he prefixed an essay on the poet's life and genius (1852); Characters and Criticisms, consisting mainly of his contributions to the Edinburgh Courant (1865); A Course of English Literature (1866)'; Studies on Thackerav (1869); and a family history entitled Three Hundred Years of a Norman House (the Gurneys) (1867).
End of Article: JAMES HANNAY (1827—1873)
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Additional information and Comments

James Hannay was my great-great grandfather, a writer as well as a diplomat. My son, also James (but called Jim) is keen on becoming a diplomat, too, and is now reading Politics at the University of Hull. My daughter has a place at Glasgow University in September, where she will be reading English and Scottish Literature and wants to be a writer. I'm hoping to visit the Old place of Sorbie with them before they start in the autumn term and "googled" James Hannay's name and it came up straight away, much to my surprise. My father looked very similar to him, so I've always been interested in reading anything written about him. I'm one of his eldest daughter's great grand-daughters. She was a suffragette!
My grandfather named James Hannah was of the Sorbie Hananys. Four of his siblings had their name spelled Hannah and four were spelled Hannay. I am writing a book the town of Keefers in the Fraser Canyon of Britsh Columbia where James settled in 1893. I have been to Kirkowan and visited with relatives in 1974 but find that I am short of color on his era before he left Scotland. That is how I found the book by James Hannay. I would be interested in why James Hannay wrote the book on Acadia and New Brunswick- Did his branch of the family settle there? John Hannah
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