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John T. Lloyd

John T. Lloyd was a church minister in South Africa. He was ordained in London in 1876 and worked as a Presbyterian minister in Kimberley between 1884 and 1889. He was for a time the minister at Pearson Street Congregational Church in Port Elizabeth, and then from 1894 he moved to Johannesburg. In 1892, according to Rive, Lloyd “was invited to deliver a lecture at the South African and International Exhibition, held in Kimberley from September of that year, on ‘Literary Life in South Africa’. A verbatim report of the lecture, in which Olive Schreiner featured prominently, appeared in the local Diamond Fields Advertiser of 13 October and Lloyd forwarded a copy to her. Olive in fact attended the exhibition and met Lloyd briefly there.” (Rive 1987: 214-5). Lloyd became a freethinker and left the ministry in 1902, returning to England.

Just two letters from Schreiner to Lloyd are now extant, but these are powerful and lengthy and they also represent what Lloyd claims was more than a thousand letters from her. While this number may be based on impression of significance rather than an actual count, Lloyd was clearly an important person for Schreiner in the late 1880s and 1890s, and from the two extant she appears to have written him extremely powerful letters filled with complex arguments and ideas.

The first extant letter is of uncertain dating because incomplete and partly a copy by Lloyd, consequently making it difficult to get a sense of this as a letter, although its contents are clear. In it, Schreiner argues that marriage should be made independent of monetary considerations, seen as a sacrament and not a light-hearted matter, and comments interesting on the character of Lyndall in The Story of an African Farm, that she was an inexperienced child and only this makes sense of her behaviour and attempts to behave in an ethical way. The second letter of 1892 responds to a copy of a lecture Lloyd had given, which he sent her, and also his letter enclosed with this. Schreiner’s response is concerned with religion, or more accurately with belief related to the nature of being or ontology. In it, Schreiner expresses her belief in the unity of things (what is called God, human kind, the universe). It provides interesting detail about her own religious history, her rejection of Christianity, the death of her younger sister Ellie, the writings of John Stuart Mill, and the poverty of language in discussing such matters. A thousand more letters like these is a remarkable thing for Schreiner scholarship to contemplate.
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recipient icon Recipient Of
collection icon SCCS Edited Extracts: Four groups of edited extracts from Olive Schreiner's letters can be accessed from here, made by her estranged husband Cronwr... Show/Hide Collection Letters
collection icon National Library of South Africa, Cape Town: Special Collections at the NLSA provide one of the leading locations for archival papers across many periods, organisations a... Show/Hide Collection Letters
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mentioned icon Mentioned In
collection icon Cory Library, Rhodes University: The Cory Library, Grahamstown, is a rich resource for books and archival papers pertaining in particular to the history of th... Show/Hide Collection Letters
collection icon Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin: The HRC, Austin, is one of the world leading locations for archival papers pertaining to literary life and manuscripts across... Show/Hide Collection Letters
collection icon Macfarlane-Muirhead Family: Schreiner’s letters to Robert Muirhead are part of Macfarlane-Muirhead family collection and can be accessed at the Mui... Show/Hide Collection Letters
collection icon National Library of South Africa, Cape Town: Special Collections at the NLSA provide one of the leading locations for archival papers across many periods, organisations a... Show/Hide Collection Letters
collection icon University of Cape Town, Historical Manuscripts: Manuscripts & Archives at the University of Cape Town is a leading location for accessing archival papers across many per... Show/Hide Collection Letters
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