Lock, F(rederick) P(eter) 1948- (Fred Lock)

views updated

LOCK, F(rederick) P(eter) 1948- (Fred Lock)

PERSONAL: Born October 2, 1948, in London, England; son of Sidney John (a toolmaker) and Agnes Ann (Evans) Lock; married Margaret Helen Capper (an artist), July 12, 1974. Education: Christ's College, Cambridge, B.A., 1971, M.A., 1975; McMaster University, M.A., 1972, Ph.D., 1975.

ADDRESSES: Home—231 Johnson Street, Kingston, Ontario, Canada K7L 1Y2. Office—Department of English, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada K7L 3N6; phone: 613-533-6000 ext. 74409; fax: 613-533-6872. E-mail—[email protected].

CAREER: University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, lecturer, 1974-78, senior lecturer, 1979-82, reader in English, 1983-88. Joint owner-operator of small press, Locks' Press, 1979—. Queen's University, visiting professor of English, 1987-88; professor of English, 1988—.

AWARDS, HONORS: Andrew W. Mellon fellowship at Clark Library, University of California at Los Angeles, 1978; research fellowship at Huntington Library, San Marino, CA, 1981-82; Australian Academy of the Humanities/Myer Foundation Travel Grant, 1982; University of Queensland Special Project Grants, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1987; Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Specialized Collections Development Grants, 1989, 1990; Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Research Grant, 1990-91; 1994-97; 1998-2001; Marguerite Eyre Wilbur Foundation, Research Grant, 1994; Queen's University Prize for Excellence in Research, 2000; Frederick A. and Marion S. Pottle Fellowship, Beinecke Library, Yale University, New Haven, CT, 2001; Queen's Research Chair, 2002.


(Author of introduction) James Bramston, The Man of Taste, 1733, Augustan Reprint Society (Los Angeles, CA), 1975.

(Under name Fred Lock; with Alan Lawson) Australian Literature: A Reference Guide, Oxford University Press (Melbourne, Australia), 1977, 2nd edition, 1980.

Susanna Centlivre, Twayne (Boston, MA), 1979.

The Politics of "Gulliver's Travels," Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1980.

Swift's Tory Politics, University of Delaware Press (Newark, DE), 1983.

Burke's "Reflections on the Revolution in France," Allen & Unwin (Boston, MA), 1985.

(Editor, with Claude Rawson) Collected Poems of Thomas Parnell, University of Delaware Press (Newark, DE), 1989.

(Translator and author of introduction) Samuel Johnson, Know Thyself, Locks' Press (Kingston, Ontario, Canada), 1992.

Edmund Burke, Vol. I: 1730-1784, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1998.

Contributor to academic journals including Southern Review, The Book Collector, Modern Language Review, Review of English Studies, and English Historical Review.

Contributor to numerous academic studies, including A Moral Enterprise: Politics, Reason, and the Human Good: Essays in Honor of Francis Canavan, Kenneth L. Grassor and Robert P. Hunt, editors, Intercollegiate Studies Institute (Wilmington, DE), forthcoming 2002; Burke's "Reflections on the Revolution in France," John Whale, editor, Manchester University Press (Manchester, England), 2000; Critical Essays on Jonathan Swift, Frank Palmeri, editor, G. K. Hall (New York, NY), 1993.

Also runs a small, private press, Locks' Press, with wife. Publishes short, early texts, sometimes in translation, of pieces previously unpublished as separate texts, such as an essay by Leo Tolstoy, How Much Land Does a Man Need? and King Orfeo, a thirteenth-century romance based on the Greek myth of Eurydice and Orpheus. A bibliography, Locks' Press 1979-2000, was produced for an exhibit at the Douglas Library, Queen's University, in 2001, listing all publications up to that time.

Work in Progress: Edmund Burke, Vol. II, 1784-1797, to be published by Oxford University Press, c. 2006; a project entitled "Rhetorical Arithmetic: The Politics of Numbers from Petty to Malthus."

SIDELIGHTS: F. P. Lock once told CA: "What interests me especially about Burke and Swift, the authors I have most closely studied, is their political rhetoric. Both are great writers and master rhetoricians, yet their political ideas have been interpreted in diverse, even incompatible ways. This has happened because changes in values have obscured the contexts in which they wrote, and therefore the meanings they intended. My aim in writing about them has been to promote a historically aware understanding of their writings and ideas. Burke, in particular, is often read as though what he said and wrote can be applied to our issues and concerns without reference to his rhetorical purposes or to the polemics of his day. In my view, Burke's world was too different from our own for his ideas to be straightforwardly 'relevant' today. In my biography, I have tried to show how his ideas emerged from the circumstances of his life and times. We can and should learn from Burke, whose writings indeed form a lasting legacy of political wisdom, but we need first to relate his ideas to his own political agenda. Only thus can we understand them, and only after understanding can we profitably use them. Despite today's widespread scepticism about the possibility of 'objective' scholarship in the humanities, I believe that historical objectivity about even so controversial a figure as Burke is a desirable aim, and that a worthwhile approximation to it can be achieved. Mine is not the only way to read Swift or Burke, but its historicity makes it the most satisfying for me."

An academic specializing in eighteenth-century English literature, F. P. Lock is best known for his work on Jonathan Swift and Edmund Burke. His Politics of "Gulliver's Travels" rejects theories that consider Jonathan Swift's Gulliver to be predominantly or entirely allegorical, with each character and event intended to correspond to actual political figures and events. According to J. P. Kenyon in the Times Literary Supplement, "Swift was perfectly capable of producing a direct allegory," but so many interpretations of the Gulliver characters exist that no comprehensive key to the supposed allegory can be assembled. In summation Kenyon agreed with Lock's assertion that "contemporary politics should be thought of as illustrating Swift's points rather than explaining them."

A more general study, Lock's fourth book—Swift's Tory Politics—discusses evidence of Swift's conservative, Tory leanings throughout what critic Paul Langford referred to as the satirist's "tortuous political career." In his Times Literary Supplement review Langford criticized Lock for what Langford felt might be an unjustified preoccupation with Swift's ideological inconsistency. Still, he praised Lock for avoiding Freudian interpretations, for his knowledge and use of "an extensive historical literature," and for his analysis, which "has much that is fresh about it." According to Langford, Swift's Tory Politics "has much to commend it."

The publication of Lock's biography, Edmund Burke, Vol. I: 1730-1784, was eagerly anticipated by scholars of eighteenth-century Britain. The first scholarly biography of Burke to appear in more than forty years, it was heralded by J. C. D. Clark of the English Historical Review, who predicted the book would become "the standard modern biography." Clark praised Lock's "careful research and scrupulous attention to detail," calling the book a "detailed and insightful account" of Burke's life and career from student to successful writer and parliamentarian. Volume I examines Burke's life until his fifty-fourth year. Burke had served variously as a member of Parliament, Paymaster-General and Lord Rector of Glasgow University in Scotland. His accomplishments remained disappointingly modest, however, and despite his high level involvement in politics, he never succeeded in securing an appointment to a major cabinet post.

Using previously neglected archival material, Lock provides a fuller account of Burke's early life and the complex of cultural influences that shaped his development. Born in Dublin, the son of a mixed marriage (his father a Protestant, his mother a Catholic), he attended first a school founded by a Quaker (though not exclusively for Quakers) and then the strongly Anglican Trinity College. In 1750, he moved to London to study law, a career which he abandoned in favor of authorship. Lock treats at length Burke's neglected early writings, particularly his unfinished "History of England" and the collaborative Account of the European Settlements in America. In 1765, he was elected to parliament, and was finally launched on the public career that rapidly made him famous.

Although much is known about Burke's public life, it is Lock's analysis of the more obscure details of Burke's career that will particularly interest scholars, according to Toby Barnard of the Times Literary Supplement. Barnard noted that "Lock's meticulous and massive biography accepts the recent emphasis on the importance of Burke's Irishness....the judicious Professor Lock sifts the ascertainable facts from the speculative chaff.... Lock, having lived at such close quarters with a man who could alternately dazzle and bore, has generally adopted an effective and attractive detachment.... Refreshingly free of jargon and interpretive whimsies—he nods ritually to 'otherness and alienation' only once—this is a study which will endure."

In addition to his own scholarly work, Lock and his wife, Margaret, have run Locks' Press since 1979. A small, independent press, it publishes short texts from twenty to forty pages in small editions of about fifty to seventy-five copies. Margaret, a woodcut artist, provides illustrations for the painstakingly hand-sewn texts, while Lock concentrates on translating and editing. All the work is done by hand. The type is set by hand and printed on carefully chosen paper, along with the accompanying woodcuts, which may take longer than a year to produce. Each book is bound by hand using the same techniques as those of the earliest days of printing. Although produced with the highest degree of artistry, the books are meant to be read, not simply placed upon a shelf for ornamentation.

Lock commented, "We have done a number of dual-language texts. We have always tried to present a unique form of the text, rather than simply reprint an existing one. For example, we printed an edition of Samuel Johnson's Latin poem 'Know Thyself' (written on completing the revised fourth edition of his Dictionary), accompanied by my translation into English hexameters (the meter of the original), together with my introduction and notes." Lock's was the first translation of the poem to be done in the original meter. About one-third of the books printed on the Locks' Press include translations done by F. P. Lock. The press itself occupies what was the kitchen in the Locks' rowhouse in Kingston, Ontario. A studio and a bindery are set up in other parts of the house. Randall Speller wrote in Canadian Notes & Queries, "The purpose and 'spirit' of Locks' Press is to bring to the public 'texts which have stood the test of time and which are now unjustly neglected', texts that have been forgotten, never issued on their own in separate editions, or texts that require new translations." Two of the books produced by the Press have received recognition in Canada. The Alcuin Society awarded citations of excellence to King Orfeo and Poem about Nothing. At a juried show, "The Art of the Book '98" sponsored by the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild, Poem about Nothing was the recipient of the William Cowley Award for Fine Printing.



American Historical Review, June 1986, James J. Sack, review of Burke's "Reflections on the Revolution in France," p. 663; October, 2000, James Conniff, review of Edmund Burke, Vol. I, 1730-1784, pp. 1386+.

Canadian Notes & Queries, fall-winter, 2000, Randall Speller, "'Betwixen Adamauntes Two': The Locks' Press in Kingston," pp. 3-11.

English Historical Review, September, 2000, J. C. D. Clark, review of Edmund Burke, Vol. I, p. 911.

History: The Journal of the Historical Association, January, 2000, Emma Vincent Macleod, review of Edmund Burke, Vol. I, p. 163.

History Today, November, 1980, R.B. McDowell, review of The Politics of "Gulliver's Travels," p. 56.

Modern Age, fall, 2001, Ian Crowe, review of Edmund Burke, Vol. I, pp. 34-35.

Political Studies, June, 2000, Ian Harris, review of Edmund Burke, Vol. I, p. 595.

Times Literary Supplement, May 2, 1980, February 10, 1984.

University of Toronto Quarterly, winter, 1999, John Faulkner, review of Edmund Burke, Vol. I, pp. 219+.

About this article

Lock, F(rederick) P(eter) 1948- (Fred Lock)

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article