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Victorian Literature Mary Ward
by
Diana Powell

Introduction

Mary Augusta (Mrs. Humphry) Ward (b. 1851–d. 1920) was a novelist, critic, education pioneer, antisuffrage campaigner, and war correspondent. Her second novel, Robert Elsmere (1888), was by some reckonings the highest-selling novel of the Victorian period, and its widespread piracy inadvertently led to the establishment of copyright laws in the United States. Born into the intellectual dynasty of Dr. Thomas and Matthew Arnold, Ward distinguished herself as a young woman at Oxford, before women were admitted to enroll as students, by becoming an expert on early Spanish literature through independent study in the Bodleian. At home among the literary and intellectual elite, Ward counted Oxford figures Mark Pattison, Walter Pater, T. H. Green, Benjamin Jowett, and Henry James as personal friends. Arthur Stanley, dean of Westminster, performed her wedding ceremony, and Lewis Carroll took her wedding pictures. Ward assumed the name of her husband, T. Humphry Ward, an Oxford tutor and journalist for the Times, in all of her works of fiction, but remained Mary A. Ward or M.A.W. in her articles and works of nonfiction. Although her career outshone her husband’s, the assumption of her husband’s name and her antisuffrage politics led to the diminishment of her critical reputation and the decline of her modern readership. Ward’s reputation as a polemical writer has also led to her work being interpreted as merely a vehicle for her religious, political, and social beliefs, and little has been produced on the purely aesthetic aspects of her work.

General Overviews

Colby 1972 provides a brief introduction to Ward as a writer, while Bindslev 1985 and Shepherd 2006 focus more on her social persona. Peterson 1976 is an excellent resource, combining detailed biographical information with an analysis of her work, but it limits itself to Ward’s life and work as it pertained to Robert Elsmere. Smith 1980 and Rives 1982 attempt to cover all aspects of Ward’s life and work, while Wilt 2005 looks at Ward through a variety of critical responses. Brown, et al. 2006 is the most comprehensive, addressing Ward’s writing career and personal life as well as the wider social and historical setting.

  • Bindslev, Anne M. “Mrs. Humphry Ward: A Study in Late-Victorian Feminine Consciousness and Creative Expression.” Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell, 1985.

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    This PhD dissertation (University of Stockholm, 1985) considers Ward’s views on marriage, professional work, politics, and education from a feminist perspective.

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  • Brown, Susan, Patricia Clements, and Isobel Grundy, eds. “Mary Augusta Ward.” Orlando: Women’s Writing in the British Isles from the Beginnings to the Present.

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    A great starting place for research on Ward. Contains historical, cultural, biographical, and bibliographical information on Ward and her writing. Allows for topical or literary searches and for the building of timelines based on a searcher’s interests. Available by subscription.

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  • Colby, Vineta. The Singular Anomaly: Women Novelists of the Nineteenth Century. New York: New York University Press, 1972.

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    A foundational feminist text that discusses Ward’s position as a writer in relation to her readership before moving to an overview of her life, novels, her influences, and her critical and popular reception.

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  • Peterson, William S. Victorian Heretic: Mrs Humphry Ward’s Robert Elsmere. Leicester, UK: Leicester University Press, 1976.

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    A valuable foundational study that blends a detailed, highly readable biography with literary criticism of Robert Elsmere. Appendix contains excerpts from her Robert Elsmere notebook, showing Ward’s research and writing processes and a breakdown of the sales of Robert Elsmere.

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  • Rives, Françoise. “Mrs Humphry Ward, Romancière.” PhD diss., University of Lille, 1982.

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    A comprehensive look at Ward’s novels, criticism of her work, and her autobiography. Written in French.

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  • Shepherd,Valerie. “Whirlwinds of Thought and Ferments of Mind: The Process of Personal Change in Mrs. Humphry Ward.” PhD diss., University of Liverpool, 2006.

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    An attempt to trace the scope and nature of Ward’s influence on education, suffrage, faith, morality, and women’s work through the novels Robert Elsmere, Marcella, and Helbeck of Bannisdale.

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  • Smith, Esther Greenwell. Mrs. Humphry Ward. Boston: Twayne, 1980.

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    A critical overview of all of Ward’s novels, grouped thematically as “religious works,” “social reform novels,” “romances,” and “war.”

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  • Wilt, Judith. Behind Her Times: Transition England in the Novels of Mary Arnold Ward. Charlottesville and London: University of Virginia Press, 2005.

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    A wide-ranging critical argument that examines Ward’s place as a transition author between the Victorian and modern eras; covers Ward’s use of aesthetics, theology, politics, gender, and sexuality.

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Bibliographies

There is no one definitive bibliography of Ward, although Thesing and Pulsford 1987 is generally accepted as the most comprehensive. The most accessible is Mary Arnold Ward: A Bibliography of Criticism 1881–2010, although it is limited to criticism and biography. The Mary Ward (Mrs. Humphry Ward) Website, although helpful for beginners, is hampered by broken links. Rives 1982 is an excellent comprehensive work, but no translation from the original French text exists. Smith 1987 is narrower in focus, exploring Ward’s contemporary reviews, while Peterson 1976 focuses on works related to Robert Elsmere. Collister 1978 is a brief bibliography that examines only Ward’s contributions to three periodicals. Brown, et al. 2006 (cited under General Overviews) also contains bibliographical information.

  • Burnette, Michaelyn. Mary Arnold Ward: A Bibliography of Criticism 1881–2010.

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    A listing of critical and biographical works concerning Ward and contemporary reviews of each novel.

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    • Collister, Peter. “Some New Items by Mrs. Humphry Ward.” Notes and Queries 25 (August 1978): 309–311.

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      Expands on Peterson 1976 by listing Ward’s contributions to the Times, the Pall Mall Gazette, and the Saturday Review. Includes helpful excerpts from personal letters that show her as the author of several unsigned reviews and give insight into her working relationship with her husband.

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    • Peterson, William S. Victorian Heretic: Mrs Humphry Ward’s Robert Elsmere. Leicester, UK: Leicester University Press, 1976.

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      Contains an excellent bibliography for the student of Robert Elsmere. The selective secondary bibliography lists contemporary reviews and sermons exclusively on the topic of Robert Elsmere and its sequel, The Case of Richard Meynell.

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    • Rives, Françoise. “Mrs Humphry Ward, Romancière.” PhD diss., University of Lille, 1982.

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      Rives’s bibliography is uniquely helpful, with translations of Ward’s work and the locations of her manuscripts. Written in French.

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    • Smith, Jeffrey. ”Mary Augusta Ward: An Annotated Bibliography of Secondary Writing, 1888–1895.” PhD diss., Louisana State University, 1987.

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      Summarizes obscure reviews of Ward’s work and provides insight into what critics praised in Ward’s work, namely, characterization, description of settings, and her storyline.

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    • Sutton-Ramspeck, Beth. The Mary Ward (Mrs. Humphry Ward) Website.

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      Offers bibliographical information on her works (grouped thematically) and suggests biographies, criticism, and other bibliographies. Although the written text can be helpful, most of the links, which would have connected to the source themselves, are dead, which makes this page less useful than it could be.

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      • Thesing, William B., and Stephen Pulsford. Mrs. Humphry Ward (1851–1920): A Bibliography. Victorian Fiction Research Guides 13. St. Lucia, Australia: Department of English, University of Queensland, 1987.

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        The most complete and accessible bibliography. Contains a list of Ward’s novels, nonfiction, pamphlets, translations, plays, and manuscripts as well as a comprehensive list of a century of criticism starting in the 1880s. Flawed by its reliance on other texts, (see Collister 1978 and Peterson 1976) and by its decision to name manuscript repositories but not to identify their holdings.

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      Autobiography and Biographies

      There are only two full-length modern biographies of Ward: Jones 1973, which is best for information on the Passmore Edwards Hall settlement, and Sutherland 1990. Sutherland is by far the most useful (but at times controversial) biography and should be balanced by Bergonzi 2003 (cited under The Arnold Family) and Peterson 1976 (cited under General Overviews). Ward 1918 is a thematic autobiography helpful for its insights into the author but severely limited in that it reads more like a resumé. Trevelayan 1923 is a biography written by Ward’s daughter, who attempts to cover most of her mother’s life, but it does not have the advantages of later biographers.

      • Jones, Enid Huws. Mrs. Humphry Ward. London: Heinemann, 1973.

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        Noted for its focus on Ward’s philanthropic work at the Passmore Edwards settlement.

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      • Sutherland, John. Mrs Humphry Ward: Eminent Victorian, Pre-Eminent Edwardian. Oxford: Clarendon, 1990.

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        The most comprehensive and vibrant study of Ward to date. Noted for its portrayal of her effect on publishing, her popular acceptance by the Victorians and rejection by the Edwardians, and her conflicting roles as a powerful woman and a model wife/mother. Sutherland’s particularly harsh depiction of Ward’s relationship with her father, Tom Arnold, is questioned by his biographer, Bernard Bergonzi (see The Arnold Family) and Sutherland’s description of Ward’s sexual attraction to women contradicts studies such as Colby 1970 (cited under Feminism).

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      • Trevelyan, Janet Penrose. The Life of Mrs. Humphry Ward. London: Constable, 1923.

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        Written by the daughter of Ward, this biography is brisker in pace and wider in scope than her mother’s autobiography. Trevelyan uses firsthand experience, published works, and letters to attempt an impartial overview of the author she refers to as “Mrs. Humphry Ward.” Includes Ward’s charity work, trips abroad, participation in the suffrage question, and her war correspondence.

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      • Ward, Mrs. Humphry. A Writer’s Recollections. London: Collins, 1918.

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        A significant resource for its insights into Ward’s influences, famous friendships, and inspirations for her writing, yet at times it reads like a who’s who of Victorian literary figures, as Ward includes her uncle’s and grandfather’s acquaintances as well as her own. Limited by its focus on authors and inspirations, it glosses over or omits difficult aspects of her life and her political and charitable work.

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      Published Correspondence

      There is no single volume of Ward’s letters, although Ward published fragments of some of her letters in her autobiography (see Ward 1918, cited under Autobiography and Biographies). Bertram 1980 gives insight into Ward’s relationship with her family, while Peterson 1970b shows her as a writer. Collister 1982 and Peterson 1970a shed light on Ward’s famous correspondence with William Gladstone, and Towheed 1997 adds to their scholarship by considering her letters to Gladstone in view of previously unpublished correspondence between Ward and her husband. Peterson 1971 reveals J. H. Shorthouse’s lasting gratitude for Ward’s help in publishing John Inglesant.

      • Bertram, James, ed. Letters of Thomas Arnold the Younger 1850–1900. London: Oxford University Press, 1980.

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        Comprehensive volume of Tom Arnold’s letters, including the material from Bertram’s New Zealand Letters of Thomas Arnold the Younger (1966).

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      • Collister, Peter. “A Postlude to Gladstone on Robert Elsmere: Four Unpublished Letters.” Modern Philology 79.3 (February 1982): 284–296.

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        Contains one letter by Ward and three by Gladstone written between March 1889 and September 1895.

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      • Peterson, William S. “Gladstone’s Review of Robert Elsmere, Some Unpublished Correspondence.” Review of English Studies, n.s. 21.84 (November 1970a): 442–461.

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        Reprints nine hitherto unpublished letters between Gladstone and Ward from the spring of 1888.

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      • Peterson, William S. “Mrs Humphry Ward on Robert Elsmere: Six New Letters.” Bulletin of the New York Public Library 74 (1970b): 587–597.

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        Among her letters to various correspondents, Ward discusses how her story is more reminiscent of the “past generation,” the Oxford of the 1850s evoked in J. A. Froude’s novel of faith and doubt, The Nemesis of Faith (p. 590), rather than of contemporary religious feeling.

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      • Peterson, William S. “J. S. Shorthouse and Mrs. Humphry Ward: Two New Letters.” Notes and Queries 18 (1971): 259–261.

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        Shorthouse expresses his gratitude for Ward’s help in publishing John Inglesant.

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      • Towheed, Shafquat. “W. E. Gladstone’s Reception of Robert Elsmere: A Critical Re-evaluation.” English Literature in Transition, 1880–1920 40.4 (1997): 389–397.

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        Towheed compares Peterson’s reprinted letters with unpublished letters between Ward and her husband (see Peterson 1970a and Peterson 1970b). Concludes that Ward was manipulating Gladstone.

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      Editions

      Only three of Ward’s novels exist in modern editions: Robert Elsmere, Helbeck of Bannisdale, and Marcella. Including late Victorian essays, pamphlets, lectures, and diary entries, Sutton-Ramspeck and Meller’s Marcella (Ward 2002) is by far the most useful teaching and research aid. Ryals (Ward 1967) and Worthington (Ward 1983) focus on the religious aspects of Ward’s work in their introductions, while Watters (Ward 1984) explores the political. Ashton (Ward 1987) gives a brief overview of the popular reception of Robert Elsmere and the influences on the novel. Between 1909 and 1911, Ward reprinted her works in collected editions for her American and British audiences: the autograph edition, by Houghton-Mifflin in New York, and the Westmoreland edition, by Smith, Elder in London. All of Ward’s novels and her autobiography exist, in either this form or an earlier print edition, free online, mostly through the Guttenberg project; these editions can be accessed through the University of Pennsylvania Online Books Page. All of her novels are also available either through reprints or Victorian and Edwardian editions. Ward published five of her novels under different US titles: Canadian Born (1910) as Lady Merton, Colonist; Cousin Philip (1919) as Helena; Daphne (1909) as Marriage à la Mode; Diana Mallory (1908) as The Testing of Diana Mallory; and The War and Elizabeth (1918) as Elizabeth’s Campaign.

      • Ockerbloom, John Mark, ed. Books by Mrs. Humphry Ward. The Online Books Page.

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        A gateway to all of Ward’s novels. Cousin Philip and Diana Mallory are listed only under their US titles. Includes some of Ward’s nonfiction as well as her introduction to the Haworth edition of Charlotte Brontë’s Shirley.

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      • Ward, Mary Augusta. Marcella. Edited by Beth Sutton-Ramspeck and Nicole B. Meller Peterborough, ON: Broadview, 2002.

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        A scholarly edition that offers a rich selection of primary historical materials, including newspaper articles, pamphlets, and guides to district nursing. It has a supplementary website for materials and illustrations that were not included in the edited text.

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      • Ward, Mrs. Humphry. Robert Elsmere. Edited by Clyde de L. Ryals. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1967.

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        An introductory look at Ward’s writing process and theological influences. Glossary intended for an audience unfamiliar with Anglican terminology and Victorian cultural references. Editor’s notes focus on literary allusions.

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      • Ward, Mrs. Humphry. Helbeck of Bannisdale. Edited by Brian Worthington. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin, 1983.

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        Considers the implications of Catholicism for gender roles and sexuality. Contains a helpful appendix on English recusants.

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      • Ward, Mrs. Humphry. Marcella. Edited by Tamie Watters. London: Virago, 1984.

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        Considers the contemporary reviews of Marcella and contextualizes its socialist message.

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      • Ward, Mrs. Humphry Robert Elsmere. Edited by Rosemary Ashton. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987.

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        Communicates the popular fervor for the novel and gives an account of Ward’s personal history, her literary and theological influences, her reasons for writing Robert Elsmere, and the controversy surrounding the novel. Ashton pays special attention to how art imitated life—Ward’s roman a clef—and life imitated art—the Passmore Edwards settlement inspired by the novel.

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      Initial Criticism

      Criticism of Ward’s novels was often more of a reaction to her beliefs and the ideas she represented rather than a close analysis of her writing. Early in her career, she was seen as a progressive force heralding an agnostic and socialist age, yet in her later years she was perceived as a highly moral establishment figure. Gladstone’s famous review of Robert Elsmere (Gladstone 1888) defended the Christian faith against Ward’s Christian socialism and set the pattern for conservative reviews and sermons up and down the country, while Pater 1910 saw Elsmere as a representative of those disillusioned with orthodoxy. Willey 1957 used the religious concerns of Ward’s reviewers to confirm Ward’s novel as itself essentially a religious work. With the publication of Helbeck of Bannisdale, came a series of Roman Catholic responses to the novel. Mivart 1898 gives good insight into the Roman Catholic response by defending the novel against the reviews of his fellow Catholics. With the growth of Ward’s fame came inordinate praise, yet her friend and fellow author Henry James (see James 1972) sidestepped a literary evaluation for a social comment about the author. Wilde’s and Phelps’s irreverent reviews (Wilde 1909, Phelps 1910) were a turning point for the author. By the time of Woolf’s judgment (Woolf 1977), Ward had come to be recognized as a symbol of tight-laced, upright Victorianism.

      • Gladstone, William. “‘Robert Elsmere’ and the Battle of Belief.” Nineteenth Century 23 (1888): 766–788.

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        The most famous review of Ward’s work. Credited with raising her profile in England and America. Continues the theological debate in Robert Elsmere, by addressing its shortcomings, namely Robert’s easy conversion and the almost entire lack of faith-strengthening arguments.

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      • James, Henry. “Mrs Humphry Ward.” In Essays in London and Elsewhere. By Henry James, 253–258. Freeport, NY: Books for Libraries Press, 1972.

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        Significant for its use of Ward as an example of women’s new place in the public sphere. Originally published in English Illustrated Magazine 9 (1892); collection first published in 1893.

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      • Mivart, St. George. “Another Catholic’s View of Helbeck of Bannisdale.” Nineteenth Century (October 1898): 641–655.

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        Summarizes the Catholic response to Helbeck of Bannisdale and attempts to correct Father Clarke’s particularly negative review by discussing Catholic theology.

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      • Pater, Walter. “Review of Robert Elsmere, by Mrs. Humphry Ward.” In Essays from “The Guardian.” By Walter Pater, 53–70. London: Macmillan, 1910.

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        Contentious for its support of Robert Elsmere as a representative of the masses of men who “cannot be sure that the sacred story is true” (p. 67). Prefers Ward’s characterization of women to men and praises her description of nature but not of Oxford. Originally published in The Guardian 43 (28 March 1888): 468–469.

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      • Phelps, William Lyon. Essays on Modern Novelists. New York: Macmillan, 1910.

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        An important early review because it was neither in awe of the author nor blindly prejudiced against her work. Attempts to deflate the popular reverence for Ward’s craft without diminishing her character or her scholarship: Ward showed “industry and talent rather than genius” (p. 193).

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      • Wilde, Oscar. “The Decay of Lying: An Observation.” In Complete Writings of Oscar Wilde, Vol. 7. By Wilde, Oscar. New York: The Nottingham Society, 1909

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        Probably the most quoted assessment of Robert Elsmere: “It is simply Arnold’s Literature and Dogma with the literature left out” (p. 80). Wilde’s wry and irreverent look at Victorian authorship condemns Ward’s most famous work for transgressing the idea of art, namely “the telling of beautiful untrue things” (p. 103). Contains an introduction and notes that highlight the differences between Wilde’s manuscripts. An online version provides notes and discussion questions not present in the original. Initially published in the Nineteenth Century in 1889, the article was later revised for Wilde’s collection of essays, Intentions, in 1891.

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      • Willey, Basil. “How ‘Robert Elsmere’ Struck Some Contemporaries.” Essays and Studies 10 (1957): 51–68.

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        Summarizes and provides excerpts from several of Robert Elsmere’s significant reviews. Considers the reviews according to the critic’s religious beliefs.

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      • Woolf, Virginia. “The Compromise.” In Books and Portraits: Some Further Selections from the Literary and Biographical Writings of Virginia Woolf. Edited by Mary Lyon, 141–143. London: Hogarth, 1977.

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        Woolf grapples with her view of Ward as a representation of the past order that must be cast off and her understanding of the woman whose “imagination always attempts to soar” but “agrees to perch” (p. 143).

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      Feminism

      Feminist criticism has been charged with unfairly criticizing or ignoring Ward for her antisuffragette, pro-establishment stance (see Sutton-Ramspeck 1987). Yet, with the exception of Heilmann 2000, feminist opinions about Ward are more varied. Showalter 1977 is a highly influential text arguing that Ward was “outdated” (p. 227), while the groundbreaking study Bindslev 1985, which is echoed by Rives 1980 and Sanders 1996, places her in an anxious Victorian present. Colby 1970 struggles with Ward’s dual role: her ability to keep up with her times but also to be “old fashioned” (p. 161). Fasick 1993 argues that Ward aligned her female characters with Darwinian nature and her male characters with Arnoldian culture. Apart from Bindslev 1985, there are no full-length studies of Ward and feminism.

      • Bindslev, Anne M. “Mrs. Humphry Ward: A Study in Late-Victorian Feminine Consciousness and Creative Expression.” Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell, 1985.

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        A groundbreaking text arguing that Ward was not behind her times; rather, she was constantly struggling with “two competing ideals of womanhood” (p. 13).

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      • Colby, Vineta. The Singular Anomaly: Women Novelists of the Nineteenth Century. New York: New York University Press, 1970.

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        A foundational text that discusses how the attitude toward women writers and the attitude toward the novel are interlinked.

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      • Fasick, Laura. “Culture, Nature, and Gender in Mary Ward’s Robert Elsmere and Helbeck of Bannisdale.” The Victorian Newsletter (Spring 1993): 25–31.

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        Examines Ward’s identification of women with nature, particularly Darwinian determinism, and men with Arnoldian culture and scientific analysis/control in Robert Elsmere and Helbeck of Bannisdale.

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      • Heilmann, Ann. New Woman Fiction: Women Writing First-Wave Feminism.Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2000.

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        Brief but strong condemnation of Ward as an antifeminist writer who portrays feminists as “failed women and freaks of nature” in Delia Blanchflower and Marcella (p. 27).

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      • Rives, Françoise. “The Marcellas, Lauras, Dianas . . . of Mrs. Humphry Ward.” Caliban 17 (1980): 69–79.

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        Casts Ward in a new light as a feminist for the 1880s and 1890s, one who believed in the equality of the sexes expressed through partnership in marriage but could not weather the more radical changes that followed. Rives uses Ward’s heroines’ names to show her conflicting desires to be contemporary but also faithful to the old way, what Rives terms the “a/y opposition” (p. 70).

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      • Sanders, Valerie. Eve’s Renegades: Victorian Anti-Feminist Women Novelists. London: Macmillan, 1996.

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        Pitches Ward as a reflection of her “confused and ambiguous” times and of the middle class. Ward’s interest in the world of men was offset by her feelings that women did not belong in a man’s world. Ward’s work is compared to those other alleged antifeminists Charlotte Yonge, Eliza Lynn Linton, and Margaret Oliphant.

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      • Showalter, Elaine. A Literature of Their Own: British Women Novelists from Bronte to Lessing. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1977.

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        A seminal feminist text arguing that Ward was behind her times in viewing self-sacrifice as women’s role. Emphasizes Ward’s great sympathy for women that arose through her feelings about childbirth.

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      • Sutton-Ramspeck, Beth. “The Slayer and the Slain: Women and Sacrifice in Mary Ward’s Eleanor.” South Atlantic Review 52.4 (November 1987): 39–60.

        DOI: 10.2307/3200367Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

        Using the pagan ritual of priestly murder-replacement described in the novel, explores the motif of female sacrifice through Eleanor’s sequence of jealous, then self-preserving, then self-sacrificial turns toward the younger Lucy. Argues that feminist critics have been too quick to criticize or exclude Ward, who juxtaposed her “advocacy of sacrifice” with passages where “female self-assertion is attractive” (p. 51).

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      Politics

      Ward has received some critical attention for her antisuffrage lobbying, her social work, and her contributions to the war effort on both sides of the Atlantic. But apart from doctoral theses, there are no full-length studies devoted to Ward on any of these topics, which are of particular interest to feminist critics and historians.

      Antisuffrage

      There has not been much written on Ward’s antisuffrage position, and Ward is often treated merely as a contrast to suffragettes, modernists, or early Victorians. Harrison 1978 is a thorough treatment of the antisuffrage movement and is comprehensive but not devoted exclusively to Ward. Sutton-Ramspeck 1999 continues the thread of her other articles about Ward (see Sutton-Ramspeck 1987, cited under Feminism) by trying to cast her as a reasonable woman of her times, and Joannou 2005 draws comparisons between Ward and the suffragettes. Thesing 1984 deals with the division between Ward’s novel writing and her antisuffrage pamphlets is echoed in Small’s treatment (see Small 1997, cited under War) of her propaganda and novel writing during the World War I.

      • Harrison, Brian. Separate Spheres: The Opposition to Women’s Suffrage in Britain. London: Croom Helm, 1978.

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        A thorough study of the cultural and political beliefs that brought about the antisuffrage movement and a historical look at the movement’s conception and demise. Discusses Ward’s influence over her MP son, her disagreements with her party, and her support for women candidates running for local office.

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      • Joannou, Maroula. “Mary Augusta Ward (Mrs Humphry) and the Opposition to Women’s Suffrage.” Women’s History Review 14.3–4 (2005): 561–580.

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        Argues that Ward shared many similar views with the suffragettes and examines her novel Delia Blanchflower.

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      • Sutton-Ramspeck, Beth. “Shot Out of the Canon: Mary Ward and the Claims of Conflicting Feminisms.” In Victorian Women Writers and the Woman Question. Edited by Nicola Diane Thompson, 204–222. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

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        Reverses feminist criticism of Ward’s participation in the antisuffrage movement by considering her “middle suffrage policy” and her “lobbying to expand women’s eligibility to vote in local elections” (p. 209).

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      • Thesing, William B. “Mrs. Humphry Ward’s Anti-Suffrage Campaign: From Polemics to Art.” Turn-of-the-Century Women 1.1 (June 1984): 22–34.

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        Contrasts the consistent antisuffrage message Ward preached in her polemical articles for thirty years with the developing position communicated through her fiction, specifically addressing her novel Delia Blanchflower. Helpful in its outline of Ward’s antisuffrage argument.

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      Society and Nation

      Ward epitomized many of her society’s values and acted as an advocate for change. Sutton-Ramspeck 2004 is a highly influential study showing how Ward’s domestic role extended her power into the public sphere, while Weliver 2006 shows the power, evident in her novel Robert Elsmere, to shape society through performance. The historical details of Ward’s involvement in actual policymaking are addressed in Lewis 1991, whereas Shepherd 2006 takes a broader and less quantified approach to her influence. Wilt 1996 sees Ward more as a product of society rather than a force for change as she examines how Ward embodies the political and national struggles in the personal lives of her characters.

      • Lewis, Jane. Women and Social Action in Victorian and Edwardian England. Aldershot, UK: Edward Elgar, 1991.

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        A wide-ranging look at Ward’s social policies and political ideas. Particularly interesting for Ward’s wrangling over the Passmore Edwards settlement, her views on men’s morality, divorce, and women’s education.

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      • Shepherd, Valerie. “Whirlwinds of Thought and Ferments of Mind: The Process of Personal Change in Mrs. Humphry Ward.” PhD diss., University of Liverpool, 2006.

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        Considers Ward’s influence on a range of political and social institutions.

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      • Sutton-Ramspeck, Beth. Raising the Dust: The Literary Housekeeping of Mary Ward, Sarah Grand, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2004.

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        A fresh look at Ward’s fiction. Coins the term “literary housekeeping,” to indicate the home as a means of influencing society and removing the boundaries between private and public life (p. 1). Takes a look at Ward’s “public motherhood,” or her power through the maternal role to participate in government, education, social reform, and commerce (p. 3).

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      • Weliver, Phyllis. The Musical Crowd in English Fiction, 1840–1910: Class, Culture, and Nation. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave, 2006.

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        Considers how the performer is a means of unifying the nation through travel, as seen in Robert’s sermons and Laura’s concerts in Robert Elsmere, and is a model of morality, balancing individual talent and responsibility to his/her audience.

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      • Wilt, Judith. “‘Transition Time’: The Political Romances of Mrs. Humphry Ward’s Marcella (1894) and Sir George Tressady (1896).” In The New Nineteenth Century: Feminist Readings of Underread Victorian Fiction. Edited by Barbara Leah Harman and Susan Meyer, 225–246. London and New York: Garland, 1996.

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        A dense and wide-reaching work that draws on Alexander Welsh’s concept of a “romance of property” to consider the ideas of country and empire as reflected in sexual unions. Communicates the anxiety of the individual in a changing society.

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      War

      Although Ward was the first female war correspondent, and her book England’s Effort, commissioned by former president Theodore Roosevelt, had a hand in bringing the United States into World War I, her contribution is largely ignored in books written about the war effort. Small 1997 blames this on her antisuffrage stance. The only full-length study of Ward’s war effort is Brown 2002, which attempts to fill the gap in critical scholarship. Otte 1990 is a trusted study of Ward and unique in considering her conservative understanding of the war effort in comparison to her antagonist Virginia Woolf’s. Small 1997 prefers to see Ward as a woman torn between competing loyalties. Tylee 1996 considers her a dangerous social influence, which opposes Sutton-Ramspeck’s view of Ward as a caretaker of society (Sutton-Ramspeck 2004, cited under Society and Nation). Wilt 2005 sees in the war effort an opportunity for Ward to serve her country and her gender, while Sait 1988 believes the war ended her artistic creativity.

      • Brown, Deborah Lynne Johnson. “‘A Strange New Consciousness’: The War Writings of Mrs. Humphry Ward.” PhD diss., University of Nevada, 2002.

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        The only comprehensive book-length study focused exclusively on Ward’s writing during World War I.

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      • Otte, George G. “Mrs. Humphry Ward, the Great War, and the Historical Loom.” Clio 19.3 (1990): 271–284.

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        Argues that Ward’s conservative view of history led her to seek historical precedents for World War I. When that failed, she began to see the war as an interruption to the normal course of history, which would be righted in the future. Compares Ward’s view to Virginia Woolf’s.

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      • Sait, J. E. “‘A Strange New Consciousness’: Mrs. Humphry Ward and the Great War.” AUMLA: Journal of the Australasian Universities Modern Language Association 69 (May 1988): 98–132.

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        Argues that the shifts in Ward’s fictional style from romanticism to realism, symbolism to naturalism, were reactions to World War I culminating in her “retreat into Puritanism” (p. 128) and the end of her growth as a fiction writer.

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      • Small, Helen. “Mrs Humphry Ward and the First Casualty of War.” In Women’s Fiction and the Great War. Edited by Suzanne Raitt and Trudi Tate, 18–46. Oxford: Clarendon, 1997.

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        Argues that Ward’s war writing was divided between her open propaganda, in which she was willing to compromise her aesthetic values, and her novels, wherein she felt the “ethical cost of her own passionate militarism” (p. 21).

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      • Tylee, Clare M. “‘Munitions of the Mind’: Travel Writing, Imperial Discourse and Great War Propaganda by Mrs. Humphry Ward.” English Literature in Transition 39 (1996): 171–192.

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        Examines the conflict of Ward’s propaganda—as imperialist ideology traditionally seen as masculine discourse—with her own ideas of femininity. Considers how propaganda affected the British postwar home by making “racist fear and hatred familiar household beliefs” (p.18).

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      • Wilt, Judith. Behind Her Times: Transition England in the Novels of Mary Arnold Ward. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2005.

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        Examines Ward’s war propaganda as an opportunity to serve women, wedding “feminine ‘militance’ to the sacred military” (p. 185).

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      Theology

      There is a long history related to the religious criticism of Ward’s work (see Initial Criticism), and most of it centers on Ward’s most famous novel of faith and doubt, Robert Elsmere, although Helbeck of Bannisdale is also represented in reviews (see Initial Criticism) and in prefaces to modern editions (see Editions). Peterson 1976 is a good starting point, as its scope takes in Arnoldian liberalism, her father’s Catholicism under John Henry Newman, and her brief Evangelical phase, as well as the religious views of her influences: Walter Pater, Benjamin Jowett, and Mark Pattison. Woolf 1977 is a compendium useful for placing Ward on the Victorian spectrum of belief, while Maison 1961 and Hapgood 1996 see her as a gateway to doubt and secularization. The conflicting theological details of liberal Arnoldian faith and orthodox Christianity are explored in Erb 2001. Cook 2005, Schieder 1965, and Ashton 1989 examine religious conversion in Ward’s novels.

      • Ashton, Rosemary. “Doubting Clerics from James Anthony Froude to Robert Elsmere via George Eliot.” In The Critical Spirit and the Will to Believe: Essays in Nineteenth Century Literature and Religion. Edited by T. R. Wright, 69–87. Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan, 1989.

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        Connects Ward’s movement beyond Froude’s premise of doubt as sin or an “atheistical desert” to a more George Eliot–like “faith in humanity” (p. 82).

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      • Cook, Daniel Joseph. “Orthodoxy and Aporia in the Victorian Narrative of Unconversion.” PhD diss., University of California, 2005.

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        Examines unconversion in Robert Elsmere, Froude’s The Nemesis of Faith, and Gosse’s Father and Son. Cook’s second chapter deals with Catherine Leyburn’s anxiety about unconversion, that its normalization has complicated rather than eased her movement toward it.

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      • Erb, P. C. “Politics and Theological Liberalism: William Gladstone and Mrs Humphry Ward.” Journal of Religious History 25.2 (June 2001): 158–172.

        DOI: 10.1111/1467-9809.00126Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

        Contextualizes Gladstone’s review and Ward’s position and gives theological rationale for their conflict over Robert Elsmere.

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      • Hapgood, Lynne. “‘The Reconceiving of Christianity’: Secularisation, Realism, and the Religious Novel 1888–1900.” Literature and Theology 10.4 (1996): 229–350.

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        Argues that the novel secularized religion by offering an alternative means of reconciling political, social, and spiritual conflict. Insights into London as a replacement for Robert’s spiritual home.

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      • Maison, Margaret. Search Your Soul, Eustace: A Survey of the Religious Novel in the Victorian Age. London and New York: Sheed and Ward, 1961.

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        A brief early study of Robert Elsmere. Argues that although Robert Elsmere was meant to promote Ward’s religious beliefs, it is more concerned with the death of the old way than a new religious life.

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      • Peterson, William S. Victorian Heretic: Mrs Humphry Ward’s Robert Elsmere. Leicester, UK: Leicester University Press, 1976.

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        An excellent foundational work which examines Ward’s spiritual influences, including her Arnoldian heritage, her father’s conversions, her mother’s staunch Protestantism, and her time at Oxford. Gives insight into the character of Elsmere’s critical reception and Ward’s manuscripts, as well as a close look at the novel itself.

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      • Schieder, R. M. “Loss and Gain? The Theme of Conversion in Late Victorian Fiction.” Victorian Studies 9.1 (September 1965): 29–44.

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        Argues that Ward’s novel Robert Elsmere is one of the most valuable examples of a conversion narrative in Victorian theological novels.

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      • Woolf, Robert Lee. Gains and Losses: Novels of Faith and Doubt in Victorian England. New York and London: Garland. 1977.

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        An overview of the theological landscape. Considers the history of Ward’s religious thought as well as her argument, as voiced by Wendover, Grey, and Elsmere, in Robert Elsemere.

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      The Arnold Family

      The Arnold family was an important influence on Ward’s religious beliefs and social ideas. Although they had never met, her autobiography begins with discussing her grandfather, Dr. Arnold, as his principles and beliefs still loomed over the family. She attributed her liberal faith to her uncle Matthew’s theological writings. Her father, Tom Arnold, and his crisis of faith, which induced marital disharmony, was a significant influence on her fiction. The Bertram 1980 collection of letters shows a side of Ward not seen in her autobiography, while Bergonzi 2003 gives a clear picture of her turbulent early life, and Trevor 1973 adds insight into her relationship with Matthew Arnold. The Arnold family tradition of juvenile literature is traced in Boughton 2005, which is a unique article, exploring a subject hitherto addressed only through Ward’s journal. Fasick 1993 and Weliver 2006 consider the influence of Matthew Arnold’s literature on Ward.

      • Bergonzi, Bernard. A Victorian Wanderer: The Life of Thomas Arnold the Younger. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.

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        Particularly helpful on her father’s conversions, the influence of John Henry Newman, and her father’s influence on Helbeck of Bannisdale.

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      • Bertram, James, ed. Letters of Thomas Arnold the Younger, 1850–1900. London: Oxford University Press, 1980.

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        Reveals the intimate relationship between Ward and her father. Portrays Ward as an unruly child, a determined young woman, and a mediator between her parents. Ward’s most touching letters to her father concern faith and the divisions it brings about in the family.

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      • Boughton, Gillian E. “Dr Arnold’s Granddaughter: Mary Augusta Ward.” In The Child Writer from Austen to Woolf. Edited by Christine Alexander and Juliet McMaster, 237–253. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

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        A unique discussion of the Arnoldian family’s Fox How Magazine and Mary’s early unpublished fiction. Contains excerpts from Mary’s early stories and poems as well as some of the Fox How Magazine’s illustrations.

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      • Fasick, Laura. “Culture, Nature, and Gender in Mary Ward’s Robert Elsmere and Helbeck of Bannisdale.” Victorian Newsletter (Spring 1993): 25–31.

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        Examines the influence of Matthew Arnold’s Culture and Anarchy and Darwin’s theory of evolution on Ward’s fiction.

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      • Trevor, Meriol. The Arnolds: Thomas Arnold and His Family. London: Bodley Head, 1973.

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        Offers specific dates and anecdotal information about Ward’s relationship with her uncle Matthew in chapters 11 and 12. Reprints full letters between Mary and her father.

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      • Weliver, Phyllis. The Musical Crowd in English Fiction, 1840–1910: Class, Culture, and Nation. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave, 2006.

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        Considers the artist as a reflection of the opposing Victorian ideals of individuality and community. Addresses aspects of crowd theory, music as a tool of modernization, and the travelling performance as an Arnoldian means (Culture and Anarchy) of unifying the nation. See pp. 156–189.

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      Relation to Other Authors

      Ward’s connections to other authors have been a popular topic of literary criticism, fueled in part by Collister’s many contributions. Collister 1983 makes critics’ comparisons of Ward and George Eliot more literal by charting their two careers, while Collister 1985, Collister 1980a, and Collister 1980b examine the influence of James, Meredith, and Brontë. Gordon 1972 reprints James’s letters and journals to show Ward’s influence on The Tragic Muse. Sutton-Ramspeck 1990 did much to tie Ward’s work as a critic to her place in the feminist history by examining her prefaces to the Brontës’ work. Knoepflmacher 1960 and Knoepflmacher 1977 look at Ward in both a modernist and romantic context.

      • Collister, Peter. “Mrs Humphry Ward, Vernon Lee, and Henry James.” Review of English Studies, n.s. 31.123 (August 1980a): 315–321.

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        Examines both Mrs. Humphry Ward’s and Henry James’s fascination and relationship with the Victorian actress Mary Anderson and how Anderson became the inspiration for Ward’s Miss Bretherton and James’s The Tragic Muse.

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      • Collister, Peter. “A Meredith Heroine and Mrs. Humphry Ward.” English Language Notes 18 (December 1980b): 112–119.

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        Examines the influence of George Meredith’s Diana of the Crossways on Ward’s Marcella and Sir George Tressady, and how Meredith’s novel was a strong but still limited inspiration for Ward.

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      • Collister, Peter. “Portraits of Audacious Youth: George Eliot and Mrs Humphry Ward.” English Studies 4 (1983): 296–317.

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        Charts the parallels between the literary career and the works of Ward and those of George Eliot, beginning with how they met at Oxford in 1870.

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      • Collister, Peter. “After ‘Half a Century’: Mrs Humphry Ward on Charlotte and Emily Brontë.” English Studies 5 (1985): 410–431.

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        Examines Ward’s biographical and literary connections with the Brontës.

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      • Gordon, D. J., and John Stokes. “The Reference of the Tragic Muse.” In The Air of Reality: New Essays on Henry James. Edited by John Goode, 81–167. London: Methuen, 1972.

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        Contains extracts from Henry James’s notebooks and letters concerning his relationship with Mrs. Humphry Ward and shows how Ward’s Miss Bretherton was an influence on The Tragic Muse.

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      • Knoepflmacher, U. C. “The Rival Ladies, Mrs. Ward’s ‘Lady Connie’ and Lawrence’s ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover.’” Victorian Studies 4.1 (December 1960): 141–158.

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        A rather harsh assessment of Ward’s literary career that goes on to argue that D. H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover is a rewriting and re-imagining of Ward’s Lady Connie from a modernist perspective.

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      • Knoepflmacher, U. C. “Mutations of the Wordsworthian Child of Nature.” In Nature and the Victorian Imagination. Edited by U. C. Knoepflmacher and G. B. Tennyson, 391–425. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1977.

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        Traces how Ward and other Victorian novelists were influenced by Wordsworth’s concept of nature, partly stemming from her childhood upbringing in the Westmoreland countryside.

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      • Sutton-Ramspeck, Beth. “The Personal is Poetical: Feminist Criticism and Mary Ward’s Readings of the Brontës.” Victorian Studies 34.1(Autumn 1990): 55–75.

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        Argues that Ward’s readings of the Brontës are an important contribution to feminist literature.

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      LAST MODIFIED: 03/02/2011

      DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780199799558-0072

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