Romantic Landscapes: Mary Webb, E. H. Young



Mary Webb (1881–1927) is the most well known rural novelist of her time. Her work was popularly supposed to be the chief model for Cold Comfort Farm, and she has on occasion been derided for the praise showered upon her by Stanley Baldwin at a Royal Literary Fund dinner. The fame resulting from the latter came seven months after her death, and led to a collected edition of her works, the five novels being installed as classics of the rural school. But, although part of literary legend (as a romantically neglected author — to the pseudo-sophisticated a ‘primitive’ one) and an easy target for ignorant satirists, she had established herself as a rural novelist of repute without the aid of any non-literary publicity. She had won a steady body of admirers long before her death, and was awarded the Femina Vie Heureuse Prize for Precious Bane (1924) three years before Baldwin was recommended to read it by his secretary.


Imaginative World Love Story Individual Soul Collect Edition Descriptive Passage 
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  1. 1.
    The fullest account of Mary Webb’s life is to be found in Dorothy P. H. Wrenn, Goodbye to Morning (Shrewsbury, 1964).Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    See especially zz Jefferies’s The Story of my Heart (1883)Google Scholar
  3. and zz Powys’s Impassioned Clay (1931).Google Scholar

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© Glen Cavaliero 1977

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