Mrs. Humphry Ward

LifeWorksCriticismCommentaryQuotationsReferencesNotes

Life
1851-1920; author of Waves on the Ocean of Life, A Dalriadian Tale (London: Simpkin 1869), featuring religious and political strife in 18th-century Ulster; set at Lough Erne and Antrim, Dunluce and the Causeway; deemed truthfully in domestic contexts, sympathetic to the people and not disparaging of ’98 insurgents; there is a study by Enid Hugh Jones (Heinnemann 1973).

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Works
Marcella, 2 vols. (1894); The Story of Bessie Costrell (1895); Daphne, or Marriage à la Mode (NY: Cassell 1909), ill. Fred. Pegram, 315pp.; England's Effort: Six Letters to an American Friend, preface by Lord Rosebery (London: Smith, Elder 1916), 192pp.

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Commentary
Aldous Huxley, The Paris Review Interviews, “The Art of Fiction”, No. 24: Q: How did you happen to start writing? Do you remember?' A: ‘I started writing when I was seventeen, during a period when I was almost totally blind and could hardly do anything else. I typed out a novel by the touch system; I couldn't even read it; it';d be curious to see it now, but it's lost. My aunt, Mrs Humphry Ward, was a kind of literary godmother to me. I used to have long talks with her about writing; she gave me no end of sound advice. She was a very sound writer herself, rolled off her plots like sections of macadamised road. She had a curious practice: every time she started on a new novel, she read Diderot's Le Neveu de Rameau. It seemed to act as a kind of trigger or release mechanism. Then, later, during the war and after, I met a great many writers through Lady Ottoline Morrell. (p.7.) Note that T. H. Huxley and Matthew Arnold were among his forebears (Eds., p.1.).

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Quotations
Marcella (1894): ‘“I am sorry for her!” cried Marcella passionately. “But after all, how can one feel for the oppressor, or those connected with him, as one does for the victim?” He shook his head, protesting against the word, but she rushed on. “You do know - for I told you yesterday - how under the shelter of this hateful game system Westall made Hurd’s life a burden to him when he was a young man - how he had begun to bully him again this past year. We had the same sort of dispute the other day about that murder in Ireland. You were shocked that I would not condemn the Moonlighters who had shot their landlord from behind a hedge, as you did. You said the man [434] had tried to do his duty, and that the murder was brutal and unprovoked. But I thought of the system - of the memories in the minds of the murderers. There were excuses - he suffered for his father -I am not going to judge that as I judge other murders. So, when a Czar of Russia is blown up, do you expect one to think only of his wife and children? No! I will think of the tyranny and the revolt; I will pray, yes, pray that I might have courage to do as they did! You may think me wild and mad. I dare say. I am made so. I shall always feel so!” (pp.434-35.)

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Daphne, or Marriage à la Mode (1909): ‘“A Stifling hot day!” General Hobson lifted his hat and mopped his forehead indignantly. “What on earth this place can be like in June I can”t conceive! The tenth of April, and I'll be bound the thermometer”s somewhere near eighty in the shade. You never find the English climate playing you these tricks.”” / Roger Barnes looked at his uncle with amusement. / “Don’t you like heat, Uncle Archie? Ah, but I forgot, it’s American heat.” [...]’ (Opening, p.3.)

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Six Letters to an American Friend (1916): ‘“There was no hatred of Germany in this country” - I quote a Cabinet Minister. “Even in those parts of the country which had most reason to feel the trade rivalry of Germany, there was no thought of war, no wish for war.” It came upon England like one of those sudden spates through mountain clefts in spring, that fall with havoc on the plains beneath. After such days of wrestling for European peace as have left their indelible mark upon every member of the English Cabinet which declared war on August 4th, 1914, we fought because we must, because, in Luther’s words, we “could no other.”’ Further, Author’s Note: ‘Will any son of gallant Scotland, or loyalist Ireland, or of those great Dominions, whose share in the war has knit them closer than ever to the Mother-Country - should he come across this little book - forgive me that I have finally chosen “England” to stand for us all? “Gott strafe England!” has been the Germans cry of hate. I have given what I conceive to be “England”s’ reply. “Britain” - “Great Britain” are words that for all their profound political significance have still to be steeped a good deal longer in life and literature before they stir the same fibres in us as the old national names. And “England” as the seat of British Government has, it is admitted, a representative and inclusive force. Perhaps my real reason is still simpler. Let any one try the alternatives which suggest themselves, and see how they roll - or do not roll - from the tongue. He or she will, I think, soon be reconciled to “England’s Effort”!’ (p.xv.)

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References
Digital sources: Celebration of Women at Pennsylvania Univ. [link] and Victorian Women Writers Project at Univ. of Indiana [link] share digital copies of texts listed in Works and Quotations, supra.

Booksellers
Richard Beaton (Lewes, S. Sussex - online), lists:-
Helbeck of Bannisdale ( London, Smith, Elder & Co. 1898) [1st edn.]
Sir George Tressady
[ London, Thomas Nelson & Sons 1910]
Fenwick's Career
( London, Smith, Elder & Co. 1906) [250 copies]
The Case of Richard Meynell
( London, Macmillan & Co. 1911)
The Marriage of William Ashe
(London, Macmillan & Co. 1905) [3rd imp.]
The History of David Grieve
(Leipzig, Tauchnitz 1892)
The Marriage of William Ashe
(Leipzig, Tauchnitz 1905)
Delia Blanchflower
(London, Ward, Lock & Co. 1915) [1st edn.]
Fenwick's Career
(London, Smith, Elder & Co. 1906) [1st edn.]
Daphne or “Marriage a La Mode”
(London, Cassell & Co. 1909)
The Testing of Diana Mallory
(NY, Harper & Bros. 1908) [1st US edn.]
Mrs Humphry Ward
by Enid Hugh Jones (London, Heinemann 1973 )
Sir George Tressady
(London, Smith, Elder & Co. 1896) [1st trade edn.]

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