Charles Francis Keary

Charles Francis Keary (1848–1917) was born in Stoke-on-Trent, England, and he became a scholar and historian. In his later work as a novelist he also influenced the modernist writer James Joyce. The late nineteenth century English novelist George Gissing read four of Keary's works including three novels in the first thirty-one days of 1896. He found Keary's novel Herbert Vanlennert, "a long, conscientious, uninspired book".[1]

Charles was born to a Galway Irish family which had settled in the industrial Midlands borough of Stoke-on-Trent. He was the son of William Keary, who in 1874 would become the first mayor of Stoke-on-Trent.

The young Charles was schooled at Marlborough College and then took his degree at Trinity College, Cambridge. He became fascinated by Scandinavian history and primitive mythology, then a promising new academic field, and wrote a number of scholarly books on such topics. His book The Vikings in Western Christendom (1890) stood as a standard work for many decades. He also became expert on Norway and the Norwegians, and knew many poets and writers there.

Keary worked from 1872 to 1887 at the Department of Coins at The British Museum in London,[2] where he wrote and published A Catalogue Of English Coins In The British Museum: Anglo-Saxon Series (1887) with Herbert Appold Grueber, and contributed scholarly articles on coins to numismatic journals. Keary was awarded the Medal of the Royal Numismatic Society in 1894. During his time at the British Museum he was the best friend of Francis Ysidro Edgeworth, the Anglo-Irish philosopher.

Keary then turned from coins and history to writing ambitious literary novels, influenced by the Russian novelists of the time. These works were rather unusual, using a lack of conventional structure in an attempt to suggest the chaos of reality, allied to close observation and a dispassionate approach to character. His novel Herbert Vanlennart (1896) was based on his tour of India, which he had also written up in the short travel book India: Impressions (1903). His later novel Bloomsbury (1905) drew on his experience of moving amid the "curious neurotic intellectualism" (The Spectator review, 8 April 1905) of London literary circles in the Bloomsbury of the late 1880s and early 1890s. At that time, under the pseudonym H. Ogram Matuce, he had published a radically impressionistic prose work titled The Wanderer: From the papers of the late H. Ogram Matuce (1888). In a Spectator review (4 September 1909, of his later novel The Mount) the reviewer remembered that: "For some of us the publication of Mr. C. F. Keary's The Wanderer over twenty years ago was an event".

Keary tried the then-fashionable form of verse drama, with "The Brothers: a Fairy Masque" (1902) and "Rigel: a Mystery" (1904), and moved with more success into philosophy with his The Pursuit of Reason (Cambridge University Press, 1910).[3] After his untimely death, from a heart attack, one further book appeared: The Posthumous Poems of C. F. Keary (1923). But the unfortunate timing of his death, coming amid the full clamour of World War One, hastened his rapid slide into almost total obscurity.

His collection of short works with weird and horrific elements, Twixt Dog and Wolf (1901), is known to have influenced James Joyce's novel Dubliners (1905) – as evidenced in a letter from Joyce dated 24 September 1905 (Letters of James Joyce, Vol. 2, p. 111). Twixt Dog and Wolf was described by fantasy historian Douglas A. Anderson as containing "literary weird fiction of a high order." [4]

Keary also wrote the libretto for the opera Koanga (1904) by the composer Frederick Delius, with whom he had detailed discussions. But the collaboration was short and fraught, and it led to no further work with Delius. (See: John White, "The Literary Sources of the Delius Operas", Delius Society Journal, Summer 2004, pp. 16–18).

Keary's sister was the Staffordshire folklorist and folk-song collector Miss Alice Annie Keary, close friend of the major folklorist Charlotte Sophia Burne. Keary himself travelled in Europe and dabbled there in folk-song collecting, publishing articles such as "Roumanian Peasants and their Songs".


  1. ^ Coustillas, Pierre ed. London and the Life of Literature in Late Victorian England: the Diary of George Gissing, Novelist. Brighton: Harvester Press, 1978, pp.399, 401-2.
  2. ^ "Keary, Charles Francis (KRY866CF)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  3. ^ "Review of The Pursuit of Reason by Charles Francis Keary". The Athenæum (no. 4360): 562. 20 May 1911.
  4. ^ Douglas A. Anderson, Late Reviews.Nodens Books, Marcellus, MI, 2018. ISBN 9781987512564 (p.89)
Annie Keary

Anna Maria (Annie) Keary (3 March 1825 – 3 March 1879) was an English novelist and poet, and an innovative children's writer.

Charles Longuet Higgins

Charles Longuet Higgins (1806–1885) was an English landowner, physician and benefactor.


Heitstrenging, also known as Hietstrenja, Heitstrengingar or Strengdir, was the Norse ritual of making solemn vows, particularly at Yule. The practice was eventually discarded when Christianity gained dominance in the region.

The vows were traditionally made while laying hands on the bristles of the sonargöltr, the boar sacrificed at the blót on the evening of Yule Eve, and in association with the Bragafull or chieftain's toast. According to some sagas, the speaker would stand and first place his foot upon a stone or bench, prefacing his vow with the words "I mount on the block and solemnly swear...".The association with the sacrificial boar and the ritual toast gave the vows the force of an oath. However, due to the ritual process, they usually came after the speaker was drunk. They became a topos in the later sagas, often as a form of bragging and promising the performance of some great feat, and taking place not only at Yule but at other sacrificial feasts, weddings, arvals or just ordinary banquets. The vows were solemn and there were punishments for breaking them, but they were not always important. Harald Hairfair, the unifier of Norway, promised to not comb or cut his hair until he ruled the entire country. More often, though, they were regarded as a matter of great significance. In Jómsvíkinga saga, the compatriots of Sweyn Forkbeard vow to ravage Norway and kill Haakon Jarl, while making sure to rape Thorkill's daughter.

Henry William Henfrey

Henry William Henfrey (1852–1881) was an English numismatist.


Keary is both a surname and given name. Notable people with the name include:

Albert Keary (1886–1962), English footballer

Andrew Keary (born 1987), Irish hurler

Annie Keary (1825−1879), English novelist

Charles Francis Keary (1848−1917), British scholar and historian

Henry Keary (1857−1937), British Indian Army officer

Luke Keary (born 1992), Australian rugby league player

Pat Keary (1901−1974), Australian rules footballer

Pat Keary (born 1993), English footballer

Keary Colbert (born 1982), American football player


Koanga is an opera with music by Frederick Delius, his third opera, written between 1896 and 1897, and a libretto by Charles Francis Keary, inspired partly by The Grandissimes: A Story of Creole Life of George Washington Cable. Inspiration also came from Delius's own experiences as a young man when his family sent him to work in Florida. Delius himself thought well of the opera compared to its predecessors, Irmelin and The Magic Fountain, because of the incorporation of dance scenes and his treatment of the choruses. Koanga is reputed to be the first opera in the European tradition to base much of its melodic material on African-American music.

List of contributors to the Dictionary of National Biography

Some 700 writers were contributors to the Dictionary of National Biography, in its first edition. They are listed below, in order of the name or initials they contributed under. Where they contributed under more than one signature, those are all given.

List of names in A Biographical Dictionary of Modern Rationalists

Joseph McCabe published A Biographical Dictionary of Modern Rationalists in 1920 (London: Watts & Co.). Most (though not all) of those listed were also included in A Biographical Dictionary of Ancient, Medieval and Modern Freethinkers (1945)

Medal of the Royal Numismatic Society

The Medal of the Royal Numismatic Society was first awarded in 1883. It is awarded by the Royal Numismatic Society and is one of the highest markers of recognition given to numismatists. The President and Council award the Medal annually to an "individual highly distinguished for services to Numismatic Science".In recent years the Medallist has been invited to receive the medal in person and to give a lecture, usually at the Society's December Meeting.

Sir John Evans gave the dies for the original silver medal to the Society in 1883. The current medal was commissioned from Ian Rank-Broadley in 1993 and is a cast silver medal with the classical theme of Heracles and the Nemean lion.

North Sea Empire

The North Sea Empire, also known as the Anglo-Scandinavian Empire, was the thalassocratic domain ruled by Cnut the Great as King of England, Denmark, Norway and parts of what is now Sweden between 1016 and 1035.

Timeline of Bergen

The following is a timeline of the history of the city of Bergen, Norway.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.