1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Hannay, James

HANNAY, JAMES (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 1840 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 1860 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 (1850) 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 Ultramarine (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 Thackeray (1869); and a family history entitled Three Hundred Years of a Norman House (the Gurneys) (1867).