Mary Webb entry: Overview screen.
Writing and Life
Works By
Mary Webb became very well known in the early twentieth century as a poetic regional novelist. She also wrote poetry, essays, short stories, and reviews. Her subject-matter is a "rural past of love, violence, beauty and cruelty, of nature's power and mystery, of passionate lives, particularly those of tragic women." Bibliographic Citation link. She herself wrote that the "hero [sic] of a country story must be instinct with the countryside: it is in his very bones"; it is also his voice. The kind of fiction she aimed at "unifies its characters with the earth, half frustrate, half triumphal." Bibliographic Citation link.
25 March 1881 Mary Gladys Meredith (later MW) was born at Leighton Lodge, Leighton, in Shropshire, ten miles from Shrewsbury. Bibliographic Citation link.
By July 1924 MW published what is probably her best-known work, her final completed novel, Precious Bane (titled from Milton's name for gold—part of the natural resources of Hell—in Paradise Lost). Bibliographic Citation link.  scholarly note link.
6 July 1926 Although Precious Bane received lukewarm reviews, it won the Prix Femina (also known as the Femina Vie Heureuse), which MW accepted on this date. Bibliographic Citation link.
8 October 1927 MW died at St Leonards in Sussex; her death was in part due to her lifelong Graves's Disease as well as to pernicious anaemia. Bibliographic Citation link.
Early 1928 Public praise of Precious Bane from former Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin formed a basis for MW's posthumous fame. Bibliographic Citation link.
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