Mary Ward: Writing, Doubt and Christian Religion
In this chapter, I examine the impact of Mary’s Christian beliefs and study of theology and Spanish history in her early non-fictional writing during her years in Oxford; all of which contributed to the success of her novel based on T. H. Green’s philosophy, Robert Elsmere. Although there is no definitive answer as to when Mary consciously began to draw on her knowledge of Green’s moral philosophy for her famous novel, she became his most famous advocate, bringing his intellectually challenging ideas concerning Christianity into the public domain. Mary’s Christian beliefs and her extensive knowledge of theological debates underpinned her extensive writings, as the first part of the chapter discusses, and despite the barriers that prevented Victorian women from formal religious roles, Rebecca Styler’s work shows that they made valuable contributions to religious debates through their writing as, ‘literature was powerful not only as a method of communicating religious ideas, but of constructing them’.
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