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Percy’s Debt to Pepys

In response to:

Big Talkers from the May 23, 2019 issue

To the Editors:

Jenny Uglow’s “Big Talkers” [NYR, May 23] describes Thomas Percy as the “first collector of English Ballads.” However, Claire Tomalin’s biography of Samuel Pepys notes Pepys’s own collection of ballads, carefully curated by subject and bound into volumes to be preserved in his invaluable library and used by Percy in his Reliques of Ancient English Poetry some fifty years later.

Ann M. Ellis
Utica, New York