Melton prior Institut


Linton- Life in the Collections

William James Linton:

35) Wind-Falls, Two Hundred And Odd.

Hamden /Appledore Press, ca. 1876

The dating of this rare publication is unclear. Most scholars date it before 1879. R. Malcolm Sills in his Check List of the Appledore Private Press refers to it as “the first ambitious issue of the press.” Linton announced this collection of aphorisms and short inner monologues as a compilation of historical quotations “from characters in various dramas,” which allegedly were issued anonymously, and were assembled and printed by himself. Obviously, all of these fictional excerpts had poured out of his own pen. Some of them give autobiographical information, some are excited political statements especially against the genocide on the Native Americans, and most of them are petty pieces of wisdom, windfalls.

It is to be assumed that Walter Savage Landor’s late miscellanies had been an examle for this loose mix of various literary pieces, and moreover, most likely it had been Landor’s legendary anthology, Poems from the Arabic and Persian, published in 1800, that had inspired him to this kind of well-intentioned fake. If he hadn’t been familiar with this scarce publication first-hand, he certainly became acquainted with the case through Richard Hengist Horne’s account, in whose miscellany of literary portraits, The New spirit of the Age (1844), he could read that Landor’s Poems from the Arabic and Persian “pretended to be translations, but were written by Landor for the pleasure of misleading certain orientalists, and other learned men. In this he succeeded, and for the first time in the known history of such hoaxes, not to the discredit of the credulous, for the poems are extremely beautiful, and breathe the oriental spirit throughout. (...) In writing which, the author, no doubt, laughed very much to himself at the critical labour and searching they would excite.” “Mr. Linton was so fond of literary hoaxes—one of the first publications of the Appledore press was a little book called Windfalls, comprising two hundred passages from imaginary plays—that it is surprising that he did not issue his Love-Lore as the work of a forgotten seventeenth century poet. It would have been difficult to have detected the fraud. The little volume was not only written, but printed, by Mr. Linton himself.” (Burton J. Hendrick, 1898) What Hendrick did not recognize was the fact that Linton had produced a much more serious version of such a hoax a few years later with his Heart Easings.