Sir Peter le Page Renouf (1822-97), a Guernseyman, was described by Lord Acton as "the most learned Englishman I know". The remarkable collection of his surviving letters, to be published in four volumes by University College Dublin Press between 2002 and 2004, covers Renouf's varied career from his days as a student in Oxford, his time as a lecturer in the 1850s at the new Catholic University in Dublin until after his retirement as Keeper of Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities at the British Museum. The letters in volume 2 cover Renouf's years as Tutor to the son of the Comte de Vaulchier in France and, from 1850, there are frequent trips to Switzerland. People and places are vividly described in his letters to his family. The letters of 1848 are particularly interesting on account of the revolution. Through the Comte de Vaulchier he had come to know Adolphe de Circourt, Lamartine's friend, and he was kept well informed about the political situation as it developed. He was preoccupied with politics again in 1851 and for a time helped the Comte, who was a liberal and well-educated man, to edit Union France-Comte, the provincial newspaper of Franche-Comte.
"Fine, spacious, classic typography."
Books Ireland Oct 2002
"This volume of letters is an important addition to the knowledge of the subsequent life and career of an Oxford convert in the middle of the nineteenth century."
Recusant History 2003
"This four volume collection of letters is now complete and will be a lasting monument to Renouf ... Professor Cathcart applies his scholarship with great attention to the details of matters ecclesiastical as well as Egyptylogical ... the writer of the letter is identified, the text to each letter is set out and notes appear at its foot ... each volume commences with a biography of Renouf and ends with a list of brief lives of the principal correspondents or of individuals who are referred to in the letters. The work is printed on good quality paper and the typeface is clear and attractive. The production is a credit to the publishers, the University College Dublin Press."
Geoffrey Allez, La Societe Guernesiaise Report and Transactions XXV (4) 2004
"Professor Cathcart, in these four volumes of letters has presented a clear, endurable and credible picture of an important figure who touched in many ways the varied moods of the nineteenth century. He has supplied a fine introduction, unobtrusive notes, full biographies of all correspondents, a useful bibliography of source material and a user-friendly index. It is a model of how a collection of letters should be presented."
A. Alan McClelland Recusant History 2007