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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 8, 1897.djvu/118

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OBITUARY.


W. A. CLOUSTON.

We deeply regret to record the sudden death of Mr. W. A. Clouston, on the 23rd October last, at a comparatively early age. His numerous writings on the subject of folktales are well known to the members of the Folk-Lore Society. A wide acquaintance with old and out-of-the-way literature enabled him often to illustrate the history and migrations of stories in an unexpected manner, and to throw much light upon obscure and difificult questions. His earliest work of any length was his privately printed edition of Sir William Ouseley's translation of The Baktyār Nāma (1883). This was quickly followed by a companion volume. The Book of Sindibād (1884). His notes to Sir Richard Burton's Arabian Nights added greatly to the value of the supplemental volumes of that work; and he contributed in a similar manner a mass of important material to the Chaucer Analogues, beside writing a volume of dissertations on The Squire's Tale, both issued by the Chaucer Society. Among his other works on the subject of folktales are A Group of Eastern Romances and Stories from the Persian, Tamil, and Urdu (1889), and Flowers from a Persian Garden and other Papers (1890). But his opus magmun was the two volumes of Popular Tales and Fictions, their Migrations and Transformations (1887), a monument of industry which did much to popularise the study of traditional stories in this country.

He did not enquire into the origin and meaning of the narratives; his concern was with their travels; and so far as he had any definite theory on their birthplace he was disposed to assign it to India, though in latter years the researches of others led to his taking a somewhat doubtful attitude. His other literary works were numerous; but we need not speak of them here. A facile style, which did not pretend to distinction, rendered his books always pleasant and readable. Generous in his appreciation of the labours of others, he never refused assistance to fellow-students. Unfortunately, life to him was throughout more or less of a struggle, in which he secured but few of the rewards that wait on worldly success.