Mary Augusta <I>Arnold</I> Ward

Mary Augusta Arnold Ward

Birth
Death 26 Mar 1920 (aged 68)
Burial Aldbury, Dacorum Borough, Hertfordshire, England
Memorial ID 30439991 · View Source
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British novelist who wrote under her married name as Mrs. Humphry Ward. Mary Augusta Arnold was born in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, into a prominent intellectual family of writers and educationalists. Mary was the daughter of Tom Arnold, a professor of literature, and Julia Sorrell. Her uncle was the poet Matthew Arnold and her grandfather Thomas Arnold, the famous headmaster of Rugby School. Her sister Julia married Leonard Huxley, the son of Thomas Huxley, and their sons were Julian and Aldous Huxley. The Arnolds and the Huxleys were an important influence on British intellectual life. Mary's father Tom Arnold was appointed inspector of schools in Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania) and commenced his role on 15 January 1850. Tom Arnold was received into the Roman Catholic Church on 12 January 1856, which made him so unpopular in his job (and with his wife) that he resigned and left for England with his family in July 1856. Mary Arnold had her fifth birthday the month before they left, and had no further connection with Tasmania. Tom Arnold was ratified as chair of English literature at the contemplated Catholic university, Dublin, after some delay. Mary spent much of her time with her grandmother. She was educated at various boarding schools (from ages 11 to 15, in Shifnal, Shropshire and at 16 returned to live with her parents at Oxford, where her father had a lecturership in history. Her schooldays formed the basis for one of her later novels, Marcella (1894). Mrs. Ward in her study On 6 April 1872, not yet 21 years old, Mary married Humphry Ward, a fellow and tutor of Brasenose College, and also a writer and editor. For the next nine years she continued to live at Oxford, at 17 Bradmore Road, where she is commemorated by a blue plaque. She had by now made herself familiar with French, German, Italian, Latin and Greek. She was developing an interest in social and educational service and making tentative efforts at literature. She added Spanish to her languages, and in 1877 undertook the writing of a large number of the lives of early Spanish ecclesiastics for the Dictionary of Christian Biography edited by Dr William Smith and Dr. Henry Wace. Her translation of Amiel's Journal appeared in 1887. Augusta Ward, by Julian Russell Story, 1889
Mary Augusta Ward began her career writing articles for Macmillan's Magazine while working on a book for children that was published in 1881 under the title Milly and Olly. This was followed in 1884 by a more ambitious, though slight, study of modern life, Miss Bretherton, the story of an actress. Ward's novels contained strong religious subject matter relevant to Victorian values she herself practised. Her popularity spread beyond Great Britain to the United States. Her book Lady Rose's Daughter was the best-selling novel in the United States in 1903, as was The Marriage of William Ashe in 1905. Ward's most popular novel by far was the religious "novel with a purpose" Robert Elsmere, which portrayed the emotional conflict between the young pastor Elsmere and his wife, whose over-narrow orthodoxy brings her religious faith and their mutual love to a terrible impasse; but it was the detailed discussion of the "higher criticism" of the day, and its influence on Christian belief, rather than its power as a piece of dramatic fiction, that gave the book its exceptional vogue. It started, as no academic work could have done, a popular discussion on historic and essential Christianity.


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  • Created by: julia&keld
  • Added: 9 Oct 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 30439991
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Mary Augusta Arnold Ward (11 Jun 1851–26 Mar 1920), Find A Grave Memorial no. 30439991, citing St John the Baptist Churchyard, Aldbury, Dacorum Borough, Hertfordshire, England ; Maintained by julia&keld (contributor 46812479) .