Mrs Humphry Ward, Helbeck of Bannisdale

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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, gave a public context to Ward’s own painful experience in her youth…

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Citation: Argyle, Gisela. "Helbeck of Bannisdale". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 04 September 2012 [, accessed 06 December 2023.]

4785 Helbeck of Bannisdale 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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