Young Mr. Newman. By Maisie Ward. (Sheed & Ward. 21s.)
Reviewed by REV. H. KELDANY
FOLLOWING close upon Mr. Sencourt's brilliant short life of Newman comes Miss Ward's longer hook devoted to the first, Anglican, half of the long career which spanned the nineteenth century and has so largely influenced the English religious scene both then and since.
Miss Ward. whose grandfather was a close follower of Newman and whose father wrote the standard twovolume biography, writes with ,the double advantage of an inherited tradition and the fortunate discovery of numerous bundles of letters never before drawn upon. " Newman." she observes, " is for most people rather a shadowy figure until he becomes an aged Cardinal, but I see him more and more clearly as young Mr. Newman of Oriel." Those who know little of his thirty years at Oxford will discover a new, warmer, and more versatile Newman in Miss Ward's 450 pages. Others for whom the Apologia pro Vim Slut consists of a spiritual autobiography obscured by the dated wrangling of a set of Oxford clergymen will perhaps discover a greater sympathy both for them and for the brilliant but at times perplexing central character whom we meet as boy and man. surrounded by a large and close-knit family circle. as the innovating young don with a genius for friendship, the apostolic and very practical curate, and the learned. holy, inspiring Vicar of St. Mary's whom a deep reading of theology gradually drew closer to Catholic Truth and Unity until he became the harbinger of the Second Spring of the Faith in England at forty-five.
Miss Ward's selection from the ample material at her disposal takes much for granted: the chronology the identity of minor characters, and even a familiarity with major events such as the reception by Fr. Dominic which is given 'less than a page: but for all its loose arrangement there is so much fresh matter, and this always illuminated by flashes of insight, that the volume will unquestionably win a lasting place next to the two others by Wilfrid Ward.
As a quarry for research it will be found maddening, for there are practically no references to sources; this concession to the general reader, whom Miss Ward keeps well in mind, is a serious blemish in an otherwise admirable book.