Newman's Reputation and the Biographical Tradition
Edward E. Kelly

Almost as if it were a sacred dogma, Cardinal Newman's reputation is secure and well guarded by many today. This is urgent now because the cause for Newman's canonization has been steadily advanced in Rome. But his reputation was not always secure — not even in the areas of orthodoxy and sanctity, to say nothing about areas of thought and personality. Cardinal Manning, W. G. Ward, Monsignor Talbot, Cardinal Vaughan, and others complained about Newman's activities and questionable orthodoxy. "Dr. Newman" was in fact called the "most dangerous man in England."1 Newman may have come partially out from under the cloud with his cardinalate, but his
reputation suffered again with new intensity with the Modernist crisis after his death.2

Of course, Newman has always had whole-hearted and unwavering defenders and supporters such as Wilfrid Ward and the Birmingham Oratorians of the twentieth century (especially Fathers Neville, Tristram, and Dessain). The conflict, polarization, and defensiveness that have always existed between these groups of people have had significant effects, I believe, on the whole biographical tradition for almost one hundred years. Even scholarly works on Newman's thought have often labored under the burden of having to defend his reputation: they do not exhibit the same kind of freedom and critical acumen that can be found in similar studies of other major nineteenth-century writers. Too often, Newmanians rely on Newman to prove Newman; his word is sufficient.3 Even supposedly scholarly Newman conventions have often been disappointing. A clerically religious tone has too often dominated these conventions, and papers have rarely departed from the general reverential, uncritical tradition.4 I have long urged that Newman is too great a figure to be given such special privilege; he does not need it and would not want it.

But I would maintain that Newman himself helped to cause much of this tradition. His experiences with and ideas about friendship are revealing. He once admitted that "it was not I who sought friends, but friends who sought me. Never man had kinder or more indulgent friends than I have had."5 This observation has been borne out by letters from such friends through all of Newman's life. Stephen Dessain makes this clear with continuous remarks such as this: Isy Froude "was always a faithful friend of Newman."6 But, again, Newman is the source for this kind of focus with his own straightforward delineation of a true friend:

Give me for my friend one who will unite heart and hand with me, who will throw himself into my cause and interest, who will take my part when I am attacked, who will be sure beforehand that I am in the right, and, if he is critical as he may have cause to be towards a being of sin and imperfection, will be so from very love and loyalty, from an anxiety that I should always show to advantage . . .7

It is important to remember that such intimidating remarks were made by a brilliant and holy man who was the founder and religious superior of the Oratorian community in Birmingham for the last forty three years of his life — in authority-conscious, hero-worshipping, nineteenth-century England. Henry Tristram, a twentieth-century Oratorian superior, wrote that Newman "had the gift of inspiring affection as well as reverence in those who fell under his spell. . . To his own community he was always a hero, a person quite apart, a being of a different order, yet both attractive and attracting."8 This Oratorian tradition was brought to an even higher level by the late Stephen Dessain, also a superior of the Birmingham Oratory for a period. Newman was so much the complete hero for him that even the great Wilfrid Ward was considered an inadequate hero-worshipper.9 Also, even when bishops opposed Newman, they were in the wrong.10 Dessain had an enormous influence for at least twenty-five years on Newman biographers and scholars and therefore on Newman's reputation.

It was Newman himself, however, in his Apologia Pro Vita Sua of 1864 who made the most momentous and influential defence of his reputation. This work was not conceived as a full autobiography, but rather as a defence (not an apology) of his religious history. The circumstances are important: Charles Kingsley, a Protestant, impugned Newman's reputation in print; Newman responded by insisting on full literary evidence in print. In those rhetorical sections of the Apologia where he is more directly defending his reputation against Kingsley, Newman creates a self-image that can be described as a conquering hero.11 Now, since the Apologia was the principal source and guide for all biographies for the next century, it is not surprising that Newman's reputation and hero-image prevailed, at least with Catholic biographers. Biography meant defence for them. But Newman's very method of defence also dictated the method of later biographies.

It is well known that Newman maintained that letters make the best biography and that letters should make up his biography. He meant this in a rather extreme sense: he feared that even editorial comments by a biographer might well distort the meaning of the letters. "A man's life is in his letters," Newman wrote his sister in 1863. "Biographers varnish; they assign motives; they conjecture feelings; they interpret Lord Burleigh's nods; but contemporary letters are facts."12 Newman made several attempts to secure a straight-letters type of biography of himself.13 When he finally chose Anne Mozley to be the "biographer" of his Anglican letters, it was because she was an Anglican and had already done other letter-biography work. She has noted that once Newman warned even against footnotes, for they are, as such, instruments of "tearing and rending."14

In view of modern developments in philosophy, psychology, and literary theory, Newman's views appear very conservative and unenlightened. But it is even more amazing that some modern Newman scholars do not question his views. They themselves seem at odds with his own complex epistemology, with his stress on the many-sidedness of truth, and with his insistence that nothing is more rare than self-knowledge (so insightfully expressed in his Grammar of Assent). But Newman apparently made exceptions in the case of saintly persons like St. John Chrysostom, whose life is in his letters — the "daily life of the secret heart." These letters give us "saintly motives," not those invented by biographers.15 Could Newman have seen his own letters like those of this saint? His own deep assurance of a special personal Providence in the development of his life gives support to his confidence in the special truth-value of his writings, public and private.16 For a good part of his life, Newman viewed his letters, diaries, and other personal documents as a record that could be used for future publication and defence. He collected letters and made holograph copies of his others' letters as early as 1828.17 The letters of his Oxford life were put into special order around 1860, and further ordering of the letters was made in 1864 during the writing of the Apologia. In 1874 Newman wrote a brief autobiographical memoir in third person with a view to some later biographical account of himself, and he requested Ambrose St. John, his closest friend, to guide future biographical writing about him.18 But St. John died in 1875. At the end of his long life, Newman was still confronting the problem of a biographer: he did not want his fellow-Oratorian, Ignatius Ryder,19 but rather chose a Protestant laywoman, Anne Mozley. The letters in which Newman planned this "biography" with her (XXXI) reveal a cautious, anxious, even fidgety Newman who is clearly concerned with his reputation. It had been often attacked for almost ninety years now, and he wanted the full truth to be given in his own words, letters from the past.

It is true that he had already given the world his Apologia in which he naturally made generous use of his past letters and other writings. They were solid fact, in his view. He often protested that he was not writing controversially in this work; and it is true that for the most part he does not attempt to give philosophical or theological proofs of his views. But these protests also have the effect of implicitly claiming that he is merely presenting the hard, incontrovertible facts of history and personal life. He "wishes . . . simply to state facts"20 and has "no romantic story" to tell.21 He also effectively employs an elaborate rhetoric of diction and imagery to establish his truthfulness. But his most potent weapons are "documents" and "written memorials."22

As Newman approached the most critical years of his pre-Catholic life in the Apologia — the years in which Kingsley and others claimed that he was less than an honest Protestant, if not an actual Catholic in disguise — he increasingly depended on his own documents. While approximately fifteen percent of Chapter II is self-quotation, approximately fifty to sixty percent of Chapters III and IV is such. The implicit claim to objectivity is a form of self-justification. As Michael Ryan has noted, Newman defends Newman by appealing to Newman.23 More literary critics have tried to caution readers about the inevitable subjectivity and personalism in Newman's own writings. George Levine has remarked that the reader can become so deeply involved with the powerful prose of Newman that he might see almost nothing except from Newman's point of view.24 And Walter E. Houghton's fine literary study, The Art of Newman's Apologia, insightfully analyzes the emotional forces that are revealed in Newman's account of such experiences as the rejection of Tract 90.25 Newman scholars tend to ignore or reject studies like this; they do not admit the value and relevance of literary and psychological analyses. Newman seems to have wanted it this way.

In an important sense, then, Newman pre-determined from the start much of the biographical tradition that followed after his death. As we have seen, he planned with Anne Mozley the most significant "biographical" work of the 1890s — the two-volume edition of letters from his Anglican period and his autobiographical memoir. As editor, Mozley asserts on her title page that these documents were "Edited at Cardinal Newman's Request" and that "in obedience to the original intention and lately expressed wish of the Cardinal, no time is lost in placing the volumes before the public." They were published in 1891. Anne Mozley was indeed an obedient editor. Her meager annotations are directed to giving mere factual information, for she well remembers her role: "It is not the Editor's part to make comments on views and principles found in the letters. They speak for themselves, and are given to the reader for his judgment."26 She has, moreover, accepted Newman's assumptions about his accuracy and truthfulness, for she introduces his autobiographical memoir with this remark: "One motive impelling him to this effort would certainly be, to tell in his own words, without the possibility of error, his earliest history . . ."27

Wilfrid Ward's two-volume biography of Newman published in 1912 was a different matter: Newman obviously had no direct control over Ward. Newman's fellow Oratorians showed their approval by offering Ward the prize of writing the first real biography. He seemed an ideal biographer: he knew Newman personally to some extent from visits to the Birmingham Oratory before Newman died; he knew a good deal about Newman from his father, W. G. Ward, whose opposition to Newman he fortunately rejected; he had spent many years reading Newman's works;28 and finally he had already written a number of good books and articles under the inspiration of Newman's thought, several of which Newman had praised. Newman himself had liked him.

Nevertheless, Wilfrid Ward was given neither the originals nor the full collection of Newman's letters to work with; nor was he allowed, according to Newman's own wish, to add to the "record given in those letters [edited by Anne Mozley] and in the Apologia."29 As a result, only one chapter in the two volumes deals with Newman's life before 1845. This part of Newman's life was apparently considered complete and final in Newman's letters, and no interpretation was wanted from Ward. Still, there were serious problems in presenting Newman's Catholic period, and Ward resolved to direct his efforts towards a delineation of Newman's individual mind and character rather than towards an explication of his writings. For this task, Ward was confident that Newman's letters would win over all readers, even though he readily admitted, and quoted Newman's admission, that some defects in personality like excessive sensitivity and self-centeredness would be revealed in these letters.30 Also some touchy theological areas like Newman's views on Infallibility were not interpreted or highlighted but presented almost entirely through letters. Ninety-four pages are devoted in appendices strictly to letters.

Still, this was not enough to satisfy the Oratorians in 1912 and Stephen Dessain in 1961. The complaint was that there was too much of Ward in these two volumes, and this was apparently the reason why he was denied permission to publish a third volume to be made up entirely of letters. Dessain maintains that such a volume of letters would appear "subordinate to Mr. Ward's presentation of Newman."31 Recent scholarship has shown that Ward had a very difficult time with the Birmingham Oratorians during most of the time of writing the biography. They restricted, badgered, and threatened Ward on a number of topics of the biography. He was told, for example, to "soften some phrases from Newman's diary testifying to his personal sadness."32

But the Oratorians of 1912 and 1961 criticized Ward most for thinking Newman was implicated in the condemnation of Modernism in 1907. Dessain was indignant with Ward for not succeeding in his portrait of Newman as "hero": "a real disciple ought to have been less easily perturbed."33 These are strangely unscholarly words. In point of fact, Ward wrote nothing about Newman and Modernism in his biography. He had hoped to defend Newman's thought against Modernist heresy but neither the Oratorians nor Cardinal Mercier wanted this. Ward did not think less of his hero because of his possible connections with Modernism; if there was fault anywhere, it was in the papal encyclical, "Pascendi Gregis."34

Despite all of the problems Ward had to face, he produced a very good biography of Newman. Martin Svaglic claims that it is the best one.35 A. O. J. Cockshut has praised it for its structural unity and wonderful balance. For example:

[Ward's] power of empathy by which he enters into Newman's excessive temporary disappointment [concerning the Catholic University in Dublin] does not inhibit the judicious balance of his historical account. The ability to vary the distance from the subject is both rare and valuable.

Cockshut further notes an achievement in Ward's biographical work which is lacking in Trevor and Dessain: "Newman is always surrounded by living, breathing men, acting on principles of their own, often wrong as against Newman but sometimes right."36 Indeed, Ward presented Newman as a man of some defects as well as a man of great virtue and achievement. It was only in this way that he could make Newman's "individuality stand out."37

Fifty years after Ward's biography another two-volume biography was published. Its author, Meriol Trevor, enjoyed a privilege that no previous biographer had: she was apparently given use of the entire collection of manuscripts of the Birmingham Oratory, although they had to be carried to her in a parlor since she was not allowed to break cloisture. She was a very inspired biographer: she clearly loved the man whose writings played an important role in her conversion to Roman Catholicism.

Although Trevor's biography disappointed many readers because of its failure to confront Newman's thought, it was more successful in its portrayal of the day-to-day life of the full human person, John Henry Newman — and this was her aim. She claimed to have the same goal that Newman had in the Apologia: to dispel the phantom or troop of ghosts that gibbers and to present the real person.38 The Apologia did not succeed in dispelling those ghosts, she claimed; so she must do the job over, this time truly revealing the whole Newman over eighty-nine years of life. So, Trevor equivalently claims that she is needed since Newman's own documents failed: "No man ever suffered more from people who read into his letters feelings and intentions he never entertained."39 This is a way of saying that Newman's view of biography is wrong, for in both theory and practice in her view Newman's letters must be interpreted correctly. She does so in excruciating detail with a warlike defensive tone: she enters the many battles that Newman fought as if they were her own. Even the chapter-titles and imagery are often those of warfare. Typical of her protective stance is this remark: "It is possible that had Newman admonished his juniors more sharply for their failings, they would have been less vocal about his."40 There is perhaps no more painfully tedious passage in all of biographical literature — almost one hundred pages — than her account of the battle between the Birmingham and London Oratories.

Newman admitted some of his faults in the Apologia, but Trevor defends him on almost every score. The tragedy of her biography is that it effected the opposite of what she intended. She revealed too much and conceded too little; she claimed to be presenting the real Newman but filled her long volumes with her protective interpretations. And all of this without scholarly references or
annotations. The reader is at her mercy but finds that she includes enough opinions of those who disagreed with Newman to suggest doubts about the all-embracing correctness of his personality.

Newman scholars expressed their criticisms of Trevor's biography but they have been relatively uncritical of Stephen Dessain's work, even after his untimely death in 1976. He liked Trevor's biography which he undoubtedly influenced, even though she judged and interpreted far more than Ward did. But then her judgments were all favorable to Newman. Dessain saw things from Newman's point of view so thoroughly that he was impatient with any doubts or criticisms of his hero or even of anything short of the highest and fullest praise. At the same time, he was the most knowledgeable Newman scholar of his time, at least on biographical-historical questions. He was also the guardian of Newman's manuscripts and library. All of this made him an intimidating figure for other scholars, although he was certainly a very gracious and generous man who supplied manuscripts even to those who disagreed with him. Dessain was especially kind and helpful to me; so it is only in scholarly interest that I make any criticisms of his work.41

The twenty-one volumes of Newman's Letters and Diaries that Dessain edited (and the preparatory work on the remaining volumes) are an admirable achievement and contribution to Newman studies. They might reveal some biased editing, however. In his introduction to the Letters, Dessain insists that the letters are the only true biography, as Newman had said, and he argues indirectly for their completeness and truthfulness by noting that nothing has been changed or suppressed, at Newman's wish. Dessain claims to share Newman's fear that biographical interpretations will almost inevitably be false. Ward must be superseded because he interpreted. Now the reader will understand Newman more accurately than Ward did.42 In any case, the letters should stand on their own "without 'the biographer's careful comments'."43

Dessain in fact makes various kinds of "comments" throughout the twenty-one volumes, and he is especially careful to guard Newman's reputation where Newman is involved in controversy. He tries to make Newman look good and his enemies look bad in the introductory notes, in the footnotes, and even in the Index of Persons of a number of volumes. F. W. Faber is the villain of Volume XIII, for example, and the introductory note focuses more on him, in unflattering terms, than on Newman himself. While Dessain often quotes favorable remarks from Newman's correspondents in the footnotes about Newman, he adds unfavorable words to describe Newman's opponents, especially Faber. Faber is on the "attack"44 and he is made by Dessain to "complain" eight times in footnotes.45 In general, Dessain uses the footnotes in this volume — often with unnecessary quotations — to make Newman appear to be persecuted and Faber to be the oppressor.

Dessain's "careful comments" about Manning are even more severe. They begin in the first published volume: Dessain characterizes Manning's response to Newman's conversion in 1845 as "affectionate but guarded."46 Later, when Manning opposed Newman in his Catholic life, he is put down by Dessain in various ways. Newman is always justified.47 The point here is not that this might not be usually correct but that Dessain, following Newman's own views, is not supposed to be making judgments through "careful comments." When Dessain describes Herbert Vaughan's opposition to Newman as "waging war on Newman",48 Vaughan sounds like an oppressor and Newman the oppressed.

The real reason why Dessain "corrects" Wilfrid Ward in Volume 27 seems to be that he suggested that Newman was emotionally distraught over St. John's death. Ward was "discredited" back in the first volume when Dessain reminds readers that Ward had been called a "prodigious blab" by his own sister.49 Then in Volume 27 Dessain claims there is "no warrant" for Ward's assertion that "when Ambrose St. John died Newman threw himself on the bed by the corpse and spent the night there."50 But Dessain's account of Newman's actions that night does not nullify Ward's account. Moreover, Newman's uninhibited expression of his grief in letters after the death confirms the possibility of Ward's account.51 Ward apparently learned of Newman's expression of grief from some Oratorian: perhaps from Dennis Sheil who remembered Newman's bursting into tears when he came to give absolution at the burial service of St. John.52

In Volume XII, Dessain throws himself in footnotes to defend Newman and to criticize Bishop Ullathorne:

In spite of Newman's request in his letter of 10 Oct., Ullathorne had given no sign that he condemned the denunciation in Dolman's Magazine of Faber, as a teacher of "gross idolatry." Instead, he had represented to Newman that the Lives should be stopped. Newman was not in the position to make further demands for Price's condemnation, which was a sine qua non if the Lives were to continue.53

Ullathorne seemed not to allow for Newman's being the Superior of a religious community, with the obligation of protecting those under him.54

In such interjections, Dessain does not see matters from the point of view of Newman's correspondents, not even that of bishops who are very busy administrators and who might well have private reasons for their actions. In general, this is a problem with the whole project of the Letters and Diaries: it does not include the letters of Newman's correspondents.

Another interesting case of biased annotation is found in Volume XXI where a number of references are made to reviews of Newman's <Apologia.>55 Dessain tends to include in footnotes favorable remarks of reviewers and to exclude unfavorable ones. From Dean Church's review, he quotes several eulogistic comments but does not include the climactic sentence: "The objections to Rome which Dr. Newman felt so strongly once, but which yielded to other considerations, we feel as strongly still."56 From the Patriot's review, not mentioned are remarks such as: Newman's writings "refine and qualify far too much for honest and unsophisticated consciences; we are left in anxious uncertainty what and where truth is."57 In other reviews, Newman is accused of feminine indecisiveness, sophistry, casuistry, etc., but none of this is included in the annotations.58

This approach to annotation is not only biased but also misleading because sometimes more than half of the reviews' remarks are negative. Also, since Newman, living in a prejudiced age, often
writes about the friendly nature of these reviews, the relativity of his assessments is lost.

Finally, admirable as Dessain's edition of the Letters is, readers can legitimately question its objectivity in many places. Having read all twenty-one volumes and having reflected on all of Dessain's attempts to put Newman in the best light and his opponents in the worst, readers might conclude that this edition is a form of panegyric — which Newman did not like. He held that abuse was as great a mistake in controversy as panegyric in biography. "I don't want a panegyric written of me, which would be sickening," he wrote in a memorandum of 1876.59

It is not surprising that Catholic biographers like Ward, Trevor, and Dessain should interpret Newman's character and life so eulogistically. But Protestant "biographers" have also expressed
their respect and love of Newman in glowing terms. Newman's conversion to Roman Catholicism, however, is almost always a basic problem for them. His own account of his conversion is not simple objective truth for them. Therefore, they must interpret, and they tend to give more value to emotions than Catholic biographers do. It might be interesting to see how this is true from a brief summary of some of their "biographies."

Newman was dead and buried less than two years when Edwin Abbott's two volume work, The Anglican Career of Cardinal Newman appeared.60 While more a controversial discussion of Newman's intellectual life than a traditional biography, this work can nevertheless be described
as a Protestant reading of or response to Newman's Apologia. At the very start Abbott poses the most critical question for members of the Church of England: "If Newman was right, are not we wrong?"61 Newman, of course, will be said to be wrong: his "imagination dominated his reason, even more than his spiritual fears perverted his imagination . . . he was led to wrong conclusions by hasty judgment and insufficient study."62 Abbott's final conclusion is that "Newman has left us something to imitate, much more to avoid. Our debt to him is negative rather than positive . . ."63

Writing at the same time as Abbott, R. H. Hutton produced a more sympathetic and ecumenical biography of Newman's pre-Catholic life.64 He had befriended Newman during the time of the Apologia and they corresponded during the rest of Newman's life. Hutton applauds Newman's greatness as a Christian and as a writer but does not pretend to know or judge him as a personality. He respects Newman's intellectual sincerity but disagrees with his stress on certitude and dogma. In final analysis, however, "no life known to me in the last century of our national history can for a moment compare with [Newman's], so far as we can judge of such deep matters, in unity of meaning and constancy of purpose."65

While Henri Bremond was a Catholic, his psycho-biography of 1907, The Mystery of Newman,66 has more in common with Protestant approaches to Newman than with Catholic and has been honored more by Protestants than by Catholics. Bremond's aim is to analyze Newman's personality, his inner life, in connection with his thought. Bremond along with his Modernist friend, George Tyrrell, wants to keep the best side of Newman's reputation alive but rejects exaggerated hero-worshipping: "A hero should dread none so much as his worshippers."67 Bremond stresses Newman's autocentrism and solitariness in personality and his subjective, intuitive tendencies in thought.

Anglican "biographers" well into the middle of the twentieth century were still concerned with the question of the subjective and emotional sides of Newman, in contrast to the objective and
intellectual, especially in connection with his conversion. F. L. Cross in 1933 repeated the contention of Abbott (and further back of Wilberforce and Church) that Newman's conversion to Roman Catholicism was essentially emotional.68 R. D. Middleton in 1950, took the opposite view that the conversion was a matter of the intellect, even if with issues that are no longer valid.69 Brian Martin in 1982 is so ecumenical that he transcends this intellect-emotions issue and sees Newman and his conversion as very important and good for all Christians today.70 Martin basically accepts and repeats Newman's own account of his life; he has accepted Newman's position on biography, for the most part. His biography is bland and uncritical, therefore, and contributes very little, besides some good photographs, to biographical studies of Newman. Owen Chadwick's little "biography" of 1983 is rather different.71 "No Catholic thinker exercised more influence on the thought of the twentieth century,"72 Chadwick writes of Newman. But he also briefly and bluntly tries to integrate Newman's personality with his thought and development in a way that might offend many readers. Newman is a solitary, private person, egoistic and enclosed. (Chadwick partially accepts Bremond's study.) Finally, Newman's glory is to some extent proclaimed at the expense of the Roman Church, to which he was at odds, in Chadwick's Anglican point of view.

Can and should more biographies of Newman be written now that we have Ward's and Trevor's two-volume works and Dessain's edition of letters, along with many other "biographical" studies by Catholics, Protestants, and others? Yes, most definitely, though a comprehensive, scholarly biography will most assuredly be a formidable challenge. The sophistication of biographical, psychological, and theological developments in recent decades is indeed daunting.

The most perennial problems, however, are Newman's greatness of mind, complexity of character, and life in a different century. Nevertheless, Newman must be interpreted. "There are no words,
ever so clear, but require an interpretation," Newman wrote in a letter in 1875,73 and "every one is biased in his view of facts by controversy" in another letter of 1865.74 And even in the Apologia, where he claims to be reporting facts, Newman asks: "Who can know himself, and the multitudes of subtle influences which act upon him?"75 Psycho-biography of our times struggles with just these issues. Let future biographies of Newman exhibit psychological wisdom. But, most of all, as a conclusion of the research of this paper, let future biographers free themselves from a tradition of a priori defence of a perfect reputation for Newman. Even a saint, which he will hopefully be, would not want such a defence.

Even as these final words are being typed, a new biography of Newman by Ian Ker is promised publication by the Oxford University Press. It might well be the new biography that is needed.

_____________________________________________________________________________

ENDNOTES

1 Merior Trevor, Vol. II, Newman: Light in Winter (New York: 1963), p. 427.

2 See Edward E. Kelly, "Newman, Wilfrid Ward, and the Modernist Crisis," Thought, 43 (1973), pp. 508-519.

3 An interesting minor example of this habit can be found in a recent edition of Newman's poem, "The Dream of Gerontius" published by Mowbray in 1986. In the foreword, Gregory Winterton of the Birmingham Oratory undervalues the scholarly research that has been published on the poem and concludes: "We are best being content with [Newman's] own explanation of what happened." (p. xviii)

4 In 1975, a clerically dominated Newman convention in Rome was pious and prosaic. Three months later in Dublin, another convention was alive with lay participation and the papers were free and challenging. In general, the collections of papers from Newman conventions are unimpressive; this is true even of the eleven volumes of Newman Studien.

5 Apologia pro vita sua, edited by Martin Svaglic (Oxford: 1967), p. 27.

6 The Letters and Diaries of John Henry Newman, edited by C. Stephen Dessain, et. al. (London and Oxford: 1961-1977), Vol. XXI, p. 545.

7 Discourses to Mixed Congregations (1909), p. 219.

8 Newman and His Friends (London: 1933), p. vii.

9 Dessain, XI, p. xix.

10 Dessain writes, for example, that "Bishop Grant had told Acton stories against the Oratory School that were completely false" (Dessain, XX, p. 386).

11 Both a military and a legal hero: "I am in warfare with [Kingsley]," and "the world will acquit me of untruthfulness" (Apologia, 6, p. 8). Newman also referred to himself as the "hero" of his letters (Dessain, XX, p. 442).

12 Dessain, XX, p. 443.

13 John Henry Newman. Autobiographical Writings, edited with an introduction by Henry Tristram (London: 1956), p. 25; Dessain, XX, p. 442.

14 Letters and Correspondence of John Henry Newman during his Life in the English Church, edited by Anne Mozley, 2 vols. (London: 1891, vol. II, 199n.

15 Historical Sketches (London: 1885), II, p. 219.

16 For example, Newman wrote R. I. Wilberforce in 1828: "I feel I am especially honored by [God] and cared for, and that he is assuredly training me for usefulness here, and glory hereafter" (Dessain, II, p. 50).

17 Dessain, XI, p. xx.

18 Tristram, pp. 23-24.

19 See Nadia M. Lahutsky, "Ward's Newman: The Struggle to be Fair and Faithful,"Newman and the Modernists (Lanham, Md., 1985), p. 65.

20 Apologia, p. 13.

21 Apologia, p. 44.

22 Apologia, 1, p. 13.

23 "A Grammatology of Assent: Cardinal Newman's Apologia pro vita sua," Approaches to Victorian Autobiography, edited by George P. Landow (Athens, Ohio: 1979), pp. 128-157. Ryan raises many challenging questions about Newman's approach to autobiography which
should be acknowledged by Newman scholars. For the most part, however, he deconstructs not what Newman actually wrote but rather what he reads into Newman.

24 "Newman and the Threat of Experience," The Boundaries of Fiction (New York: 1968).

25 (New Haven: 1945), especially pp. 101-102.

26 Mozley, I, p. 9.

27 Mozley, I, p. 23. Italics added.

28 Ward took Newman's complete works to Rome with him and reread them during his entire married life. Josephine, his wife, has written that "all our life together was lived under the shadow of Cardinal Newman." Wilfrid Ward, Last Lectures, with an introduction by Mrs. Wilfrid Ward (London: 1918), p. xvi.

29 Wilfrid Ward, The Life of John Henry Cardinal Newman, 2 vols. (London: 1912), vol. I, p. 3.

30 Ward, I, pp. 2-3, 20-21.

31 Dessain, XI, p. xix.

32 See Lahutsky (note 10), p. 56. Also, see Sheridan Gilley, Wilfrid Ward and His Life of Newman," Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 29 (1978), pp. 177-193; and my article in Thought (note 1).

33 Dessain, XI, p. xix.

34 Kelly (note 1).

35 Victorian Prose: A Guide to Research, edited by David J. DeLaura (New York: 1973), p. 117.

36 Truth to Life: The Art of Biography in the Nineteenth Century (New York: 1974), p. 199.

37 Ward, I, p. 21.

38 Merior Trevor, Vol. I, Newman: The Pillar of the Cloud (New York: 1962), p. 5.

39 Trevor, I, p. 5.

40 Trevor, I, p. 463.

41 I will always be grateful for the help and protection given me by Father Dessain. He was very open with me about his views and biases, including his assurance that Newman was almost without fault and his determination to "cook Manning's goose" in the edition of Newman's Letters. All the Birmingham Oratorians were the very model of gentility and they accepted me as one of them.

42 Dessain, XI, p. xx.

43 Dessain, XI, p. xxii.

44 Dessain, XIII, 36n.

45 Notes 73, 78, 94, 135, 155, 356, 425.

46 Dessain, XI, p. 8.

47 Anti-Manning footnotes can be found in many volumes, but see XXII, xiii, 4, 328-329; XXIV, 324, 362, 369; XXV, 15, 17, 75, 283, 285, 393.

48 Dessain, XXV, p. 89.

49 Dessain, XI, p. xix.

50 Dessain, XXVII, p. 301, and Ward, I, pp. 21-22.

51 See Dessain, XXVII, pp. 301-320, especially 306.

52 This is reported by Vincent Blehl, "The Sanctity of Cardinal Newman,"America, 1958.

53 Dessain, XII, p. 328.

54 Dessain, XII, p. 353.

55 I co-edited Volume XXI and prepared the very annotations needed to give a truer picture of reviews, etc. Dessain did not want them.

56 Dessain, XXI, p. 143.

57 Dessain, XXI, p. 164.

58 Dessain, XXI, pp. 164, 185, 187. For a study of these reviews, see Vincent F. Blehl, "Early Criticism of the Apologia, Newman's Apologia: A Classic Reconsidered, edited by Vincent F. Blehl and Francis X. Connolly (New York: 1964), pp. 47-63.

59 Tristram, p. 24.

60 (London: 1892).

61 Abbott, I, p. v.

62 Abbott, I, p. viii.

63 Abbott, II, p. 431.

64 Cardinal Newman (London: 1891).

65 Hutton, p. 250.

66 Translated by H. C. Corrance, with an introduction by George Tyrrell (London: 1907).

67 Tyrrell, p. ix.

68 John Henry Newman: with a set of unpublished letters (London: 1933). I am indebted here and with Middleton to J. H. Walgrave's appendix, "Biographies of Newman," pp. 309-320 of Newman the Theologian, translated by A. V. Littledale (London: 1960).

69 Newman at Oxford (London: 1950).

70 John Henry Newman: His Life and Work (London: 1982).

71 Newman (Oxford: 1983).

72 Chadwick, p. 70.

73 Dessain, XXVII, p. 337.

74 Dessain, XXII, p. 175.

75 Apologia, p. 90.

Reverend Edward E. Kelly received his doctorate in English from Fordham University. A successful teacher and writer, he is at present Professor of English at St. Louis University. Father Kelly worked with the late C. Stephen Dessain in the Newman archives at the Oratory in Birmingham, England. He has also edited a volume of Newman's letters and has published articles on Newman and other
modern literary figures.

____________________________________________________________________________

This article was taken from the Winter 1989 issue of "Faith & Reason". Subscriptions
available from Christendom Press, 2101 Shenandoah Shores Road, Ft. Royal, VA 22630, 703-
636-2900, Fax 703-636-1655.

Copyright (c) 1996 EWTN

 


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