Family, Fame and London Society

  • Helen LoaderEmail author


During the thirteen years Mary Ward lived in Oxford as a member of the famous Arnold family, she built a reputation as a talented scholar of Christian theology and Spanish. The skills and social contacts she developed through her studies in the Bodleian Library and the guidance she received from some of the most eminent Oxford scholars, such as T. H. Green, J. R. Green, Mark Pattinson, Mandell Creighton and Walter Pater proved indispensable when she and Humphry moved to London in 1881 to further Humphry’s subsequent career as a journalist for The Times. London society opened up a whole new set of social contacts and opportunities for Mary. I use this chapter to explore the alternative strategies she had to employ to expand her reputation and career as a novelist, which enabled her to put Green’s philosophical theories into practice, as part of the social reform movement in Bloomsbury. I consider how Mary negotiated cultural representations of men and women’s roles within the Victorian family and society to gain a place among some of the most famous people of her generation; exemplifying the belief in ‘improvement’ that Green discussed in Prolegomena to ethics, as the requirement of the individual to make the best of themselves in order to contribute towards the common good.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for History of Women’s EducationUniversity of WinchesterWinchesterUK

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