Mackail, J. W. Life of William Morris .
This essay was Wilfred Heeley’s last submission to The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine; though he was one of the original members of the Brotherhood, he
married and left for India in September (Mackail 90). The essay is listed
under “Notices of Books” in the December table of contents, but
has more in common with the other critical essays in the Magazine than with
the other reviews. The majority of the essay relates the story of Henry VIII
and the break from the Catholic church, as told by Froude. This kind of
summary is typical of several essays in the Magazine, but not of the reviews
of contemporary works.
This essay is also more than twice as long as any other review. The longest
of the others is John Nichol’s
in the December issue, and he
reviews two works: Sydney Dobell’s “England in the Time of War” and George
MacDonald’s “Within and
Without”. It is possible that this essay on Froude was put
under reviews by accident, mistaken for Heeley’s essay on Macaulay. That essay, though it
reviews an earlier work, would fit better into the “notices of
books” category than the essay on Froude.
Heeley opens this essay by discussing the use of historical writing, and how
modern readers relate historical events to their own lives and times. He
commends Froude for his accurate depiction of the Renaissance, and meeting
his goal “to chastise and refute a false belief about a whole
period, a gratuitous and ungenerous assumption that we are better and better
off than they” (369).
Heeley draws no explicit comparisons between Froude and Macaulay, but since
he reviewed works of the same title by these men, published within a year of
each other, he must have had some comparison in mind. He criticizes Macaulay
for his lack of sympathy with some of his subjects, but praises Froude for
“the loving human way in which he looks on every one whom he
deals with” (374).
First printed in
The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine
, June, 1856.