Most remarkable about Robert Elsmere (1888) is its stupendous contemporary success with the reading public, followed by its later complete disappearance from the list of Victorian novels of continuing appeal. Thanks to scholarly interest, however, the novel is currently in print. A huge bestseller in Britain and America, Robert Elsmere was also reviewed as serious fiction. Although with less mania, four other novels of Ward’s through the 1890s shared this reception.
In the novel Ward represented characters’ principles and vocation, including women’s philanthropic or political activity, as dynamically interrelated for good or ill with private affections and loyalty. Participating in the “new didacticism”, her fictional treatments of religious controversy and social and industrial
Citation: Argyle, Gisela. "Robert Elsmere". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 15 September 2011 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=2330, accessed 06 December 2023.]