I have appended two kinds of information to the following bibliography of Tupper's writings: (1) passages from Tupper's unpublished letters which either explain the circumstances of his writing particular pieces or else help demonstrate the attribution of anonymous writings to him; and (2) passages from the writings themselves, particularly when they are hard to come by, which I have included both to suggest something of the nature of the works themselves and to tempt others to study them.
Over a period of years students in English 221, the no-longer extant course in methodology of scholarship at Brown University, have edited selections of various unpublished manuscripts as part of their graduate training. Much of the information presented below should be understood to have been provided by members of these various classes. In 1986 members of one of these classes — James H. Coombs, Anne Scott, and Arnold Sanders — and I published the correspondence of Hunt and Tupper; see bibliography. This bibliography is the second part of an article that originally appeared in The Journal of Pre-Raphaelite Studies 7 (1986): 63-68.
(1) "A Sketch from Nature." The Germ: Thoughts towards Nature in Poetry, Literature, and Art 1, no. 1 (January 1850), 47.
(2) "The Subject in Art. (No. 1)." The Germ: Thoughts towards Nature in Poetry, Literature, and Art 1, no. 1 (January 1850), 11-18.
(3) "The Subject in Art. No. II." Art and Poetry: Being Thoughts towards Nature Conducted principally by Artists [the title of The Germ for its last two numbers- 1, no. 3 (March 1850), 118-25.
(4) "An Incident in the Siege of Troy, seen from a modern Observatory. [from] "Papers of 'The M[edical]. S[tudent]. Society.'" Art and Poetry: Being Thoughts towards Nature Conducted principally by Artist 1, no. 3 (March 1850), 131-36.
(5) "Viola and Olivia." Art and Poetry: Being Thoughts towards Nature Conducted principally by Artists 1, no.4 (May 1850), 145.
(6) "Smoke" [from] "Papers of the M. S. Society." Art and Poetry: Being Thoughts towards Nature Conducted principally by Artists 1, no. 4 (May 1850), 183-86.
(7) "Extracts from the Diary of an Artist." The Crayon 2 (1855), 159-60, 271-72, 319-20, 336-37, 368-69, 400-01; 3 (1856), 43-45, 75-76, 102-05, 234-36; 4 (1857), 103-07, 145-49, 200-04.
These extracts, which were published under the name of "Jack Tupper," contain entries from 6 December 1836 — the day Tupper began studying at the British Museum to gain entrance to the Royal Academy schools — to 6 June 1841.
(8) "The Light of the World." The Crayon 2 (1855), 87.
Although this poem on Holman Hunt's famous religious painting appeared over the name of "John Lionel Tupper," it is almost certainly by our Tupper since it is mentioned as being his in a letter to him by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. On 18 January 1855 Rossetti, writing of Tupper's poems, wrote to him: "I read some time back, and like much, the one on Hunt's picture in The Crayon." The Letters of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, ed. Oswald Doughty and J. R. Wahl, 4 vols. (Oxford, 1965), I, 237. Since there is only one poem about a Hunt painting in this periodical, Rossetti, I infer, was writing about this particular work.
(9) Hiatus: the Void in Modern Education, Its Causes and Antidote. London: Macmillan, 1869. pp. 251.
Tupper published his treatise on art education under the name of "Outis" or "No man," a fact that he mentions in a letter of 24 May 1870 to his close friend William Holman Hunt. Tupper wrote that "Gabriel [Rossetti] asked me to send him my Book and promised to let me have his poems in return when out. He has kept his promise this time, but my Book must have been a choke-pear; it advocates an accuracy that wd. ruin him. The title is 'Hiatus, or the void in modern education,' by Outis. I must add to your burden and have it sent to you" (Huntington Library)." Rossetti's presentation copy, which is inscribed "To John L. Tupper from his friend D G Rossetti April 1870," was offered for sale by Woodspurge Books of Staunton, Virginia, in its catalogue for spring 1981.
Tupper's main point for educating the eye is that such training provides an essential contribution to educating the whole person. Like Ruskin and Hunt, who advocate drawing in a realistic style as a means of encountering the truths of the visible world, he emphasizes that "form, so far as it exists to us, comes in at the eye and goes out at the hand; and until it has travelled this round, however it may be talked about, read about, thought about, it is in no true sense apprehended" (p.42). According to Tupper,
Such accurate teaching as I am advocating would, in the majority of cases, rather tend to encourage an artistic scrutiny and accurate observation of all things visible than a predilection for the artist's profession. When this truth shall be recognized and possessed in its fulness as it was by the Greeks (whom we indeed copy, but in that literal manner which the Greeks would have despised), then, and only then, will a study of the imitation of visible nature hold its true position in nature as singly the most powerful ally of all other studies whatever. For what art or science, with the exception of music or mathematics, and what polite or useful calling in life, is not aided by increased accuracy of eye?" (p. 60)
Like Ruskin (whom he often seems to follow but never mentions in his published work), Tupper finds essential connection between art, education, and the conditions of life in society; so like that far better known critic, he begins by talking about art and ends by talking about society. For example, after arguing that false education that scants training the eye causes men and women to live in an ugly manner in ugly environments, he attacks the woman of fashion: "Contemplate if we can without sorrow such opulence of grace and all charitable devotion, overmastered by the tyranny of fashion, arraying herself, as by fatal impulsion, in a garb which shall starve a thousand families" (p. 145).
Waxing even more rhetorical, Tupper finds in such women — and such manner of dress — a grotesque emblem of the times and their unnaturalness:
Dare we to conceive of what must be our contempt for taste, propriety, and artistic discretion, when men endure and approve that their wives and daughters transfigure their divine image, transforming their beauty into hideousness, obliterating the natural flexures of the body and the visible grace of movement by a tumid dome of skirts, a waist up to the chest, or a pair of balloons at the shoulders or elbows, or anywhere, as chance may determine?" (p. 146).
Unfortunately, despite some truly interesting ideas and some occasionally strong, clear writing, Tupper frequently succumbs to a characteristic inability to discipline and organize his thoughts. Unable to resist following out a train of thought, he often finds himself led far afield, and, as a consequence, his reader often finds it difficult to follow his reasoning.
(10) The True Story" of Mrs. Stowe; by Outis. London: Mann Nephews, [1869?]. Pp. 58.
In a letter to Hunt written on 5 July 1871, Tupper explained that "just after 'Hiatus' was paid for I was tempted to write a pamphlet on the Howe & Byron controversy. I knew that very few would take it either in the physical or mental sense but it offered such a splendid chance for irony, so I wrote it for my own comfort like most I write and do. George would make me publish it however and got it printed in the City" (Huntington MS).
In the course of defending Byron — and Byron's poetry — from Harriet Beecher Stowe's "The True Story of Lady Byron's Life," which appeared in the September issues of The Atlantic Monthly 14 (1869), 295-313, and Macmillan's Magazine 20 (1869), 377-96, Tupper lambasts not only trial by newspaper but also Stowe's general practice as a critic. In the course of his argument he also raises some astute objections to romantic and post-romantic literary criticism that tries to read the artist out of his works. First, however, Tupper asks his audience, with reference to the Byron case, "Are we willing to be tried thus by newspaper evidence whenever someone shall say in a magazine that our wives have given a very bad account of us, which account is 'down in writing,' and which good people are to believe but not see?" (p. 5)
Next, Tupper satirizes Mrs. Stowe for setting herself up as a universal censor:
Would she make an index expurgatorius, and straightway banish Boccaccio and Chaucer, and abolish Cellini's sculpture and 'autobiography,' because we know he was an acknowledged ruffian? or does the author of 'Uncle Tom' think we could do this if we would? Conceive the apostle of impartial love and justice to bond and free, black and white, the believer in the irrepressibility of all God-created things, one of an Orthodox Limited Company for the repression of dangerous geniuses!" (pp. 16-17)
Pretending to find such an hypothesis too absurd to take seriously, Tupper mockingly proposes that she wrote "willfully at random in a vein of grotesque irony" (p. 17), and he offers as evidence a series of arguments that prove her methods and conclusions to be so absurd that he cannot accept she meant them seriously. He points out, for instance, that it is too absurd for belief to conceive Mrs. Stowe and her fellow critics "studying a passage from 'Cain' to see how and by what reasoning Byron 'justified himself in incest,' and next week, studying 'Othello' to see how Shakspeare [sic] justifies himself for strangling his wife" (p. 27).
From such objections eventually follow Tupper's most interesting and sophisticated theoretical points — first, that we must not naively assume we find the complete life, personality, and spiritual state of an author in any one of his works, particularly if they are complex and varied; and second, that such personal elements do not provide the value of the literary work. Characteristically, he states his theories in the form of rhetorical questions:
How far should our estimate and perusal of an author's works be affected by our knowledge of the author's morality .... Are we to recognise personal morality as a normal and constituent element in the question of what a book is worth? And, if so, is the new moral censorship to apply to all works of literature, arts, and science? a moral censorship not only of the works themselves, as touching upon their intrinsic morality, but likewise of the author dead or living? Ought the respective morality of Des Cartes and Newton to weigh as evidence for the truth of their systems?" (p. 48)
(11) "On an Optical Illusion." Philosophical Magazine 39 (1870),423-28.
Tupper mentioned this article and the periodical that published it in his letter of 24 May 1870 to Hunt while complaining about his difficulty in finding a mass audience for his ideas: "The Press has done good, but has been for some time now doing more harm than good, in my opinion. If I write anything new and true I can get it printed only in the 'Philosophical Magazine' which the people don't read, and which does not cater to the public. I have an optical article to appear in June which was the result of some study and experience and which I get no pay for" (Huntington MS).
(12) "Henry Hugh Armstead, " The Portfolio 2 (1871), 129-34. Reprinted in English Artists of the Present Day. London: Seeley, Jackson, and Halliday, 1872, pp. 61-66. [full online version]
Tupper first mentions to Hunt that he will be writing for The Portfolio in a letter of 22 June 1869: "Do you know Hamerton is going to bring out an art periodical called 'The Portfolio'? I have been asked to write for it. " Then in a letter of 5 July 1871 Tupper told his friend: "I have the offer from Hamerton (Editor of 'The Portfolio') to write articles (leaders) on all the English sculptors. 'What! any one want Jack's writing!"' (Huntington MS) In this same letter when telling Hunt that William Michael Rossetti had first offered him the job of reviewing for The Spectator which he later passed on to F. G. Stephens, he reports that Rossetti had said,
I "should do it better." He was wrong. I should not have done it better, and I refused then to do it at all, as I have, through weal and wo[e], constantly refused to write in a required style and under pressure of any kind. So I have refused to write this series of articles for Hamerton, seeing that I could not write faithfully about any other sculptors but[?] Woolner and Foley. I have engaged to write but these two" (Huntington MS).
Hamerton apparently induced Tupper, as few others ever managed to do, to write additional articles for him.
(13) "W. Cave Thomas." The Portfolio 2 (1871), 149-53. Reprinted in English Artists of the Present Day, pp. 67-71.
(14) "Thomas Woolner. " The Portfolio 2 (1871), 97-101. Reprinted in English Artists of the Present Day, pp. 56-60. [full online version]
(15) "(Review of) J. R. Morrell's The Essentials of Geometry, Plain and Solid, as Taught in French and German Schools, with Shorter Demonstrations than in Euclid " Nature 3 (1871), 323-25.
When looking for a periodical to publish some anti-Darwinian writings, Tupper explained to Hunt in a letter of 15 October 1872 that "'Nature' is not the thing by any means. I have had to write reviews of Geometry books for it twice. Wilson (our swell mathematician) writes for it now & then, and asked me as a favour to do these 2 reviews. I hate all reviewing but did them to oblige him, and I keep his letter as my justification" (Huntington MS).
According to Ms. Lori Lefkovitz, who has provided al the information in the remainder of this paragraph, Tupper's interests and style of writing help identify the anonymous review of Morrell's book as his. Tupper is then also the "Reviewer" of the dialogue with Morrell which followed; Morrell defended himself against the Reviewer's criticism of his work on 23 March 1871 (vol. 3, p. 407) and the Reviewer responded on p. 427 of this same volume. Tupper had attacked the book as unclear, vague, and of little value for the student of geometry. It is interesting to observe that Tupper wrote the review at the request of his friend, J. M. Wilson, a noted Rugby mathematician who had just published the third volume of Solid Geometry and Conic Sections. with Appendices on Transversals and Harmonic Divisions, for the Use of the Schools, London: Macmillan, 1872. A review of this work appears in Nature4 (1872), 118-19, which praises Wilson's treatment of his subject.
(16) " (A letter to the editor re Prof. Helmholz and Prof. Jevons.)" Nature 5 (January 1872),202-03.
In the previously cited letter of 15 October 1872 to Hunt, Tupper complained that "I once wrote on my own hook a paper against Professor Helmholz's views of Geometry, but they inserted it as a letter, & that gave it less weight than it wd. otherwise have had" (Huntington MS).
Helmholtz's views of geometry — again according to information furnished by Ms. Lori Lefkovitz — appear in the Academy, 1 (12 February 1870),128. In "The Axioms of Geometry" from a philosophical standpoint, Helmholtz contends that the truth value of geometric axioms is not absolute but rather conditioned by empirical evidence. He believes that one could hypothesize a world for which accepted geometrical principles would not hold true, and it is to this notion that Tupper objects. Tupper's article was meant to respond to an earlier one by W. Stanley Jevons entitled "Helmholtz on the Axioms of Geometry." In Nature, 4 (1871) 481-82.
(17) "On the Center of Motion in the Human Eye." Royal Society Proceedings 22 (1874), 429-30.
(18) Poems by the Late John Lucas Tupper. Edited by William Michael Rossetti. London: Longmans, 1897.
Rossetti, who put together this volume of Tupper's poetry, only included previously unpublished poems; and therefore to perceive the full range of Tupper's attempts at verse, one must also look at items 1 and 4-8 above
Last modified 1 January 2005