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Helbeck of Bannisdale

by Mary Augusta Ward

Written when the New Woman novel was at the height of its popularity, Helbeck of Bannisdale depicts the tension between a heroine’s desire for independence and her love for a man who prefers wifely submission. After her father’s death, Laura Fountain struggles with the legacy of his agnosticism and her growing affection for Catholic ascetic Alan Helbeck. She must decide whether love can triumph over religious scruples. Mary Ward’s powerful novel captures the drama and conflict of the late nineteenth-century debates surrounding faith, doubt, and a woman’s place in society.

This scholarly edition, edited by Beth Sutton-Ramspeck, includes:

  • Critical introduction
  • Author biography
  • Select bibliography
  • Ward’s introduction to the Westmoreland Edition
  • Dr James Begg’s ‘The Blight of Popery’
  • Extract from Thomas Henry Huxley’s ‘Agnosticism and Christianity’
  • Extract from Alys Whithall Pearsall Smith’s ‘A Reply from the Daughters’
  • Glossary of regional terms, words and phrases used

Beth Sutton-Ramspeck, Associate Professor of English at the Ohio State University’s Lima campus, is the author of Raising the Dust: The Literary Housekeeping of Mary Ward, Sarah Grand, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and several articles about Mary Augusta Ward’s novels and critical writings. She also edited Ward’s 1894 novel Marcella for Broadview Press.

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