University Of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2, Regno Unito
Barnards Inn, 86 Fetter Ln, London EC4A 1AD, Regno Unito
Henry Festing Jones (30 January 1851 – 23 October 1928) was an English solicitor and writer, known as the friend and posthumous biographer of Samuel Butler.
He was the son of Thomas Jones Q.C., and entered Trinity Hall, Cambridge in 1870. Graduating B.A. in 1873, he was articled to a solicitor. He qualified in the profession in 1876.
Jones met Samuel Butler through Edward Hall, a college friend; they became close in 1876. From 1887, he was Butler's paid companion and musical collaborator. Butler had settled in 1864 in Clifford's Inn, London, where he lived for the rest of his life, dying in 1902; Jones lived in Barnard's Inn and Staple Inn during Butler's lifetime.
After Butler's death, Jones moved within London to Maida Vale, where his sister kept house for him. He advised Butler's executors (Reginald Worsley, and R. A. Streatfeild who was literary executor). He organised annual "Erewhon Dinners" in Butler's memory, from 1908 to 1914, at the suggestion of Marcus Hartog. P. N. Furbank has criticised the editorial stance Jones took, and the effort to make Butler "respectable", of the years before the Memoir appeared.
In 1910 Jones met Francis Darwin, in an attempt to give closure to the feud between Butler and Charles Darwin that had arisen around 1880; there resulted his pamphlet Charles Darwin and Samuel Butler: A Step toward Reconciliation (1911).
Jones published a well-regarded selection The Note-Books of Samuel Butler (1912), after Desmond MacCarthy had seen the originals, and published extracts in the New Quarterly Review. The editing of this work has been seen as involving false emphasis and polishing of the originals, producing an effect of a "cross between Oscar Wilde and Dr Johnson". His biography of Butler, entitled Samuel Butler, Author of Erewhon (1835–1902) — A Memoir, won the inaugural James Tait Black Memorial Prize for biography in 1919.
Jones edited Butler's works with Augustus Theodore Bartholomew, known as Theo and a librarian and bibliographer in Cambridge, in 20 volumes appearing 1923–6. On Bartholomew's death in 1933, Geoffrey Keynes became his literary executor, taking on also the papers of Jones and Butler, acting with Brian Hill.
Through Theo Bartholomew, Jones came to know Siegfried Sassoon, meeting after World War I; Sassoon and others knew him as "Enrico". They corresponded, and Sassoon found Jones a sympathetic audience. Bartholomew and Mansfield Forbes visited Jones, and gave him "guru" status. Geoffrey Keynes and his wife were good friends.
Jones was a student of the Opera dei Pupi. Butler had visited Sicily almost annually in the last decade of his life, usually with Jones.
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