RALSTON, William Ralston Shedden

RALSTON, William Ralston Shedden (born W. R. Shedden). London 4.4.1828 — London 6.8.1889. British Author, Translator and Russian Philologist. Son of William Patrick Ralston Shedden, a wealthy merchant who had long been in Calcutta, and Frances Sophia Browne. In 1846-50 studies of law at Trinity College, Cambridge (B.A.). He was called to the bar, but an unsuccesful lawsuit in the early 1850s ruined the family fortune, and he had to find instead a regular income (and took Ralston as his new surname). From 1853 he worked in British Museum and cataloguing Russian books began to learn the language. He travelled several times in Russia and translated Russian books into English. In 1875 resigned his position for health reasons and lived then as a private scholar.

Ralston was no Oriental scholar, but well-knowm for his translation of Schiefner’s narratives. He was corresponding member of Russian Academy. Unmarried.

Publications: Many translations from Russian, a Russian history 1874.

– Translated: Tibetan Tales Derived from Indian Sources. Transl. from the Tibetan of the Kah-gyur by F. Anton von Schiefner. Done into the English from German. 64+368 p. L. 1882 and many editions (Schiefner’s “Indische Erzählungen”).

Sources: R.K.D[ouglas], D.N.B. 47, 1896, 224f.; *B. McCrimmon, “WRSR (1828-89): Scholarship and Scandal in the British Museum”, British Literary Journal 14, 1988, 178-198; Walravens & Stache-Weiske 2015, 274f. nt. 822; Wikipedia.

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