Mary Augusta Ward
Standard Name: Ward, Mary Augusta
Birth Name: Mary Augusta Arnold
Married Name: Mary Augusta Ward
Pseudonym: Mrs Humphry Ward
Best known for her influential loss-of-faith novel Robert Elsmere, was among the more prolific and popular novelists of the later Victorian and Edwardian periods. Her fifty-year career spanned an era of enormous transformation. During it she produced twenty-five novels, an autobiography, journalism (including reviews and literary criticism), a children's book, a translation, and several works of war propaganda. Her more serious earlier works were weighty novels of ideas in the tradition of , which seek to chart the complex relationships among character, intellect, religion, and morality. Her work insistently takes up what she sees as the pressing social issues of her day, shifting in the early twentieth century to briefer works on a much wider geographical canvas and then taking up the war effort in both fiction and prose. It displays an abiding interest in the social, intellectual, and sexual relations between men and women. The education and occupations of women are recurrent themes, and Oxford with its intellectual ferment a common setting. Although 's nationalism, imperialism, and anti-suffrage stance cast her as conservative to recent readers, she was a reformer, in her earlier years a democrat, and an acute analyst of gender who believed strongly in the currents of progress and the transformative power of texts.