[Canon] William Barry

Life
1849-1930 [William Francis Barry; later Right Rev. Mgr.]; b. London, of Irish parents, ed. Oscott Jesuit School and Gregorian Univ., Rome; entered priesthood in 1873; Rector of St. Peter’s, Leamington; Prof. of Theol. at Olton; as ‘Canon Barry’ he wrote articles for the Dublin Review and the Contemporary; his work on the medieval papacy was censured by his Catholic superiors; his novels include The New Antigone (1887), a pro-Catholic novel of ideas in the form of a witty attack on free love and free-thinking, socialism and the New Woman, was reprinted 3 times in the year, and ran to 7 edns. by 1906; The Two Standards (1898), more overtly Catholic, with an artist hero based on Wagner, satirising high finance; Arden Massiter (1900) its hero a young English socialist involved in Italian revolutionary politics; The Wizard’s Knot (1900), is dedicated to Douglas Hyde and Standish H. O’Grady and finds humour in the Celtic revival; The Place of Dreams (1893) contains ghost-stories. IF SUTH

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Works
The New Antigone (London: Macmillan 1887); The Two Standards (1898); Arden Massiter (1900); The Wizard’s Knot (1900, Do. 2nd edn. T. Fisher Unwin: London 1901), pp. viii. 376; The Place of Dreams (CTS 1893).

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References
Stephen Brown, Ireland in Fiction (Dublin: Maunsel 1919), reflects that The Two Standards bears ‘[...] little or any relation to real life in Ireland’; it is a ‘study of primitive passions. ... a “creepy” dream ... unlike the author’s New Antigone.’

John Sutherland, The Longman Companion to Victorian Fiction (Longmans 1988; rep. 1989), gives an account of The New Antigone (London: Macmillan 1887), which he calls a pro-Catholic novel of ideas in which Col. Edgar Valence is an atheist, socialist, and terrorist while his daughter Hippolyta follows the way of free love with Rupert Glanville, an artist, then enters a convent when discovering the need for religion. Rupert marries Lady May, an earl’s daughter, and there is a climactic scene in France where many conversions takes place. The novel makes brilliant play of extended country house episodes and conversations. The stories in The Place of Dreams (1893) are deemed unremarkable.

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