New book presents Charles Wesley letters

October 17, 2013

A UMNS Interview
By Sam Hodges*

Oct. 15, 2013

In transcribing Charles Wesley’s letters, Gareth Lloyd not only had to learn an 18th century form of shorthand, he also had to crack the code of Wesley’s idiosyncratic abbreviations.

A decade of editing labor by Lloyd and Kenneth G.C. Newport has yielded a new book called “The Letters of Charles Wesley, with Introduction and Notes: Volume 1 (1728-1756).” The British scholars are working on the second and concluding volume.

The project pulls together, for the first time, a complete, annotated collection of Wesley’s correspondence.

Volume 1, published by Oxford University Press, is 528 pages, and retails for an alarming $225. However, the Rev. Robert Williams, top executive of the United Methodist Commission on Archives and History, calls it an “extraordinary work of research and editing.” Williams contends the letters offer crucial new insight into Wesley, who enjoys a golden reputation as hymn writer (“Hark! the Herald Angels Sing,” “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling”) but has been eclipsed by his brother, John Wesley, in accounts of Methodism’s founding.

Lloyd, 51, is curator in charge of Methodist manuscript and archival collections at the John Rylands Library at the University of Manchester in England. Below are Lloyd's recent responses to questions about the work.

Read the full UMNS article HERE.

*Hodges, a United Methodist News Service writer, lives in Dallas.