• David Kennedy and Brett D. Hirsch, “Prime Suspect: William Cowper Prime in the Holy Land and the Identity of ‘An American’ in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, 1858.” Palestine Exploration Quarterly 148.2 (2016): 110-132.

    One of the most popular writers for travellers to Egypt, the Holy Land and Syria in the later nineteenth century was William Cowper Prime. His journey of 1855–1856 resulted in two books which went through multiple editions over a period of twenty years, a stimulus to follow in his footsteps and a standard text in the hands of many pious Christians. A series of five long articles published anonymously in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine in the mid- to late 1850s can be shown as by Prime. All have been accepted as factual reports of actual events, places, and people but closer examination leaves little doubt they are fictitious. In the light of these conclusions, it is clear Prime had a taste not just for the wild exaggeration parodied by Mark Twain, but also outright invention and we must be cautious in using his writings as sources.