Mrs Humphry Ward: Helbeck of Bannisdale

(1862 words)

Since its publication Helbeck of Bannisdale (1898) has generally been esteemed as Ward’s finest and most moving novel. As one of her five bestselling novels it also enjoyed the most sustained long-term sales (it is in print). In it Ward returned to the topic of religious conflict first portrayed in her best known novel, Robert Elsmere (1888), but this time conflict between Roman Catholicism and atheism. The growth of religious skepticism in England in the latter part of the nineteenth century provoked a wealth of fictionalized debates. The incremental removal of Catholic disabilities and the restoration in 1850 of a diocesan hierarchy, which resulted in virulent anti-Catholic protests and riots between 1840 and 1870, …

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Argyle, Gisela. "Helbeck of Bannisdale". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 04 September 2012
[, accessed 03 July 2015.]