Title: Henoch Arden
Author: Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Publication date: The Hague, 1869
Library: Alderman Library, University of Virginia
Call number: PR5556.A63 1869
Submitted by: Andrew Stauffer
a Dutch translation of Tennyson’s Enoch Arden – “Henoch Arden,” published in the Hague in 1869. It comes from the library of Thomas Randolph Price, a literature professor and former Confederate soldier, whose books were given to the University of Virginia library in the early twentieth century. It bears the following inscription on the verso of the title-page:
Rotterdam Aug. 28, ’84
While looking in a booksellers window just now, & smiling at “Dombey En Zoon,” and other English works in Dutch, I got caught in a shower. So I got this book & retreated to a “café,” and got a bottle of Rhine wine, & have taken the two together. I know the English poem almost by heart, & so I can read this Dutch without the dictionary; and it comes back to me, as I read, that we read it together in dear Richmond nineteen years ago. Some of the lines that you read aloud then seem vivid & fresh in my memory – things not to die until I do. And so it seemed to me that it might be a pleasure to you to see clearly – as I do through the mists of another tongue – Enoch Arden from another point of view; and therefore through the golden light of this “flask” of Rhine wine, I give you this book to show you how dear to me our past has been, and how much I think of you.
When James and Tom were reading the poem together nineteen years ago – that is, in 1865 – “dear Richmond” was facing imminent invasion by General Grant’s troops; the city would soon be burning as the Confederate army made its final retreat; weeks later, Lee surrendered. Next to certain passages in the poem which he knows “by heart,” James R has written “Do you remember?” and “I remember when you read this,” emphasizing the complex and strongly-felt layers of memory at work on these pages of the Dutch Enoch Arden, a poem essentially about the heart-wrenching consequences of coming home to a place where one has been forgotten.