Webb, Mary Gladys

(1881-1927)
   The daughter of George Edward Meredith, a schoolmaster of Welsh descent, and a Scottish mother, she was born at Leighton-under-theWrekin, Shropshire, where she was brought up. In 1912 she married a schoolmaster, and after several years of living in different places they settled at Hampstead, London, in 1921. At the age of 20 she developed Graves' disease, a thyroid disorder that was the cause of ill health throughout her life. Between 1916 and 1927 she published five novels; Precious Bane (1924) (set after the Battle of Waterloo) won the Femina Vie Heureuse prize for the best English novel published in 1924-1925. She died at St. Leonards on Sea, Sussex. Stella Gibbons, in Cold Comfort Farm (1932), ridicules Webb's prose style. Her novel Gone to Earth was filmed in 1950 and rereleased in 1985. The Spring of Joy (essays and poems) was published 1917. Richard Moult, artist and composer, has set many of Mary Webb's poems to music, including: "A Hawthorn Berry," "Foxgloves," "A Summer Day," "A Night Sky," "To a Poet in April," "The Ancient Gods." Some of her other poems: "Autumn, 1914," "Green Rain," "Market Day," "The Water-Ousel," "Why?"
   Sources: Come Hither. Walter de la Mare, ed. Knopf, 1957; Dover Publications, 1995. Dictionary of National Biography. Electronic Edition 1.1. Oxford University Press, 1997. Encyclopædia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite DVD, 2006. Scars Upon My Heart: Women's Poetry and Verse of the First World War. Catherine W. Reilly, ed. Virago Press, 1981. The Book of a Thousand Poems: A Family Treasury. J. Murray Macbain, ed. Peter Bedrick Books, 1983. The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry. 11th ed. The Columbia Granger's World of Poetry, Columbia University Press, 2005 (http://www.columbiagrangers.org). The Mary Webb Society (http://pers-www.wlv.ac.uk/Webb, Mary Gladysme1927/mwebb/index.html).

British and Irish poets. A biographical dictionary. . 2015.

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