[Webb] was a great mystic and a master of both "inscape" and landscape. Any dull afternoon in London is lifted by being transported to the Mary Webb country of the Shropshire hills and the Welsh borderland.MAIL ON SUNDAY
Precious Baneby Mary Webb
Prue Sarn is an original and appealing heroine of English literature as she triumphs over a physical handicap to win her heart's desire. Skillfully woven
Books like PRECIOUS BANE are as rare as blue moons. A forgotten classic set in rural Shropshire at the turn of the 19th century blends a simple, rustic love story with a profound sense of nature's mystic truth.
Prue Sarn is an original and appealing heroine of English literature as she triumphs over a physical handicap to win her heart's desire. Skillfully woven through this story is the aura of the English countryside, its flora and fauna anticipating every turn of the plot.
Mary Webb's work won her the admiration of her contemporary writers and in 1925 PRECIOUS BANE won the Femina Vie Heureuse prize.
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Meet the Author
Mary Webb (1881-1927), poet, mystic and lover of nature, spent most of her life in Shropshire, which features in all of her novels. Admiring contemporaries described Webb as a 'strange genius' and 'one of the best living writers'. After a life of illness and near-poverty, Mary Webb died in Hampstead.
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Prue Sarn is a heroine cut from the same cloth as Jane Eyre: amusing, passionate, and inspiring. Mary Webb's lyrical writing conveys both the mysterious wildness of Prue Sarn's rural Shropshire community and the insightful, compassionate intelligence that Prue shares only with the reader for most of the novel. Also like Jane Eyre, this work holds up to multiple readings over many years. Precious Bane won a literary award shortly after it was published, but Mary Webb was not recognized for her genius and had no commercial success until after her death. How lovely if her gifts could be rediscovered in the new millenium. In one sense the relative obscurity of this work makes it more of a treasure for readers who love it as I do. But in truth it deserves a much larger readership. It is interesting and poignant to note that Mary Webb was diagnosed with Graves' Disease as a young woman. With its symptoms of protuberant eyes and a throat goiter her appearance changed over the years. How much Precious Bane, written near the end of her life, was based on her own joys and sorrows I will not speculate, but it seems likely that the phrase "precious bane" (from John Milton's Paradise Lost) was aptly chosen not only for its relevance to both Prue and her brother Gideon, but was also very personal to the author. Precious Bane is the work of an author whose great talent gives us a story in which the very specific malady of the protagonist can touch the reader's own wounds or deformities with a call to persevere in generosity, forgiveness, and hope.
Compelling, dark, mysterious, romantic and beautiful.
This is one of my favorite books. I've read it several times now and will read again. Each time I get something else from the story. I took me several pages to get the flow of the language, but once I did it flowed sweetly. It's a very touching story of a girls struggle through hardships and discrimination due to living with a hair-lip.
That shows how well oeoole could wrute before typewriters