Cavalay. A Chapter of a Life.

William Fulford

General Description

Date: 1856
Genre: Short story


◦ Georgiana Burne–Jones, Memorials.

◦ Mackail, J. W. Life of William Morris .

Scholarly Commentary

Guest Editor: PC Fleming


William Fulford (1831-1882) intended this story to be “simple and ordinary, with little incident, with no adventure, yet not devoid of thought and feeling, as the life of no man, though it seemed the most monotonous and commonplace, has ever been” (535). It is the most autobiographical of the stories in The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine. The story is about a group of young men in their last year at Oxford. Cavalay’s marriage to Isabel, or perhaps Wilton’s to Mary, could have been suggested by Burne-Jones’s courtship of Georgiana MacDonald, and the trip that Hartle, Carlford, Wilton, and Cavalay take to Wales certainly has parallels in Morris, Burne-Jones and Fulford’s 1855 trip to Europe.

The texts referred to in this story were nearly all reviewed or analyzed in the Magazine: most chapters begin with quotations from various poems by Tennyson (about whom Fulford wrote an important three-part essay), and Cavalay reads Plato and Bacon together, as well as Fouqué (about whom Burne-Jones had planned to write an essay for the Magazine (Memorials 122)).

The November table of contents misprints the title of this work, listing part III as part II.

This story, like Fulford’s “The Two Partings” and Morris’s “Frank’s Sealed Letter”, embeds a poem within it (629). More research is necessary to determine whether this poem appeared in any of Fulford’s later volumes of poetry.

Printing History

First printed in The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine, 1856, in three parts: the first part in September; the second part in October; and the final part in November.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: Fulford016.raw.xml