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ALEXANDER WHYTE (1837- )

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Originally appearing in Volume V28, Page 618 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ALEXANDER WHYTE (1837- ), Scottish divine, was born at Kirriemuir in Forfarshire on the 13th of January 1837, and was educated at the university of Aberdeen and at New College, Edinburgh. He entered the ministry of the Free Church of Scotland and after serving as colleague in Free St John's, Glasgow (1866-1870), removed to Edinburgh as colleague and successor to Dr R. S. Candlish at Free St George's. In 1909 he succeeded Dr Marcus Dods as principal, and professor of New Testament literature, at New College, Edinburgh. Among his publications are Characters and Characteristics of William Law (1893) ; Bunyan Characters (3 vols., 1894) ; Samuel Rutherford (1894) ; An Appreciation of Jacob Behmen (1895) ; Lancelot Andrewes and his Private Devotions (1895) ; Bible Characters (7 vols., 1897) ; Santa Teresa (1897) ; Father John of Cronstadt (1898) ; An Appreciation of Browne's Religio Medici (1898) ; Cardinal Newman, An Appreciation (1901). WHYTE-MELVILLE, GEORGE JOHN (1821-1878), English novelist, son of John Whyte-Melville of Strathkinness, Fifeshire, and grandson on his mother's side of the 5th duke of Leeds, was born on the 19th of June 1821. Whyte-Melville received his education at Eton, entered the army in 1839, became captain in the Coldstream Guards in 1846 and retired in 1849. After translating Horace (1850) in fluent and graceful verse, he published his first novel, Digby Grand, in 1853. The unflagging verve and intimate technical knowledge with which he described sportl: scenes and sporting characters at once drew attention to him as a novelist with a new vein. He was the laureate of fox-hunting; all his most popular and distinctive heroes and heroines, Digby Grand, Tilbury Nogo, the Honourable Crasher, Mr Sawyer, Kate Coventry, Mrs Lascelles, are or would be mighty hunters. Tilbury Nogo was contributed to the Sporting Magazine in 1853 and published separately in 1854. He showed in the adventures of Mr Nogo—and it became more apparent in his later works—that he had a surer hand in humorous narrative than in pathetic description; his pathos is the pathos of the preacher. His next novel, General Bounce, appeared in Fraser's Magazine (1854). When the Crimean War broke out Whyte-Melville went out as a volunteer major of Turkish irregular cavalry ; but this was the only break in his literary career from the time that he began to write novels till his death. By a strange accident, he lost his life in the hunting-field on the 5th of December 1878, the hero of many a stiff ride meeting his fate in galloping quietly over an ordinary ploughed field in the Vale of the White Horse. Twenty-one novels appeared from his pen after his return from the Crimea:—Kate Coventry (1856); The Interpreter (1858); Holmby House (186o) ; Good for Nothing (1861) ; Market Harborough (1861) ; The Queen's Maries (1862); The Gladiators (1863); Brookes of Bridlemere (1864) ; Cerise (1866) ; Bones and I (1868) ; The White Rose (1868); M or N (1869); Contraband (1870); Sarchedon (1871); Satanella. (1873) ; Uncle John (1874) ; Sister Louise (1875) ; Katerfelto (1875); Rosine (1875); Roy's Wife (1878); Black but Comely (18781. Several of these novels are historical, The Gladiators being perhaps the most famous of them. As an historical novelist Whyte-Melville is not equal to Harrison Ainsworth in painstaking accuracy and minuteness of detail; but he makes his characters live and move with great vividness. It is on his portraiture of contemporary sporting society that his reputation as a novelist must rest; and, though now and then a character reappears, such as the supercilious stud-groom, the dark and wary steeple-chaser, or the fascinating sporting widow, his variety in the invention of incidents is amazing. Whyte-Melville was not merely the annalist of sporting society for his generation, but may also be fairly described as the principal moralist of that society; he exerted a considerable and a wholesome influence on the manners and morals of the gilded youth of his time. His Songs and Verses (1869) and his metrical Legend of the True Cross (1873), though respectable in point of versification, are of no particular merit.
End of Article: ALEXANDER WHYTE (1837- )
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