Author

W. H. Mallock

W. H. Mallock books and biography

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William Hurrell Mallock

William Hurrell Mallock (February 7, 1849–April 2, 1923) was an English author.

He was educated privately and then at Balliol College, Oxford. He won the Newdigate prize in 1872 and took a second class in the final classical schools in 1874, securing his Bachelor of Arts degree from Oxford University. He attracted considerable attention by his satirical novel The New Republic (1878) [1], in which he introduced characters easily recognized as such prominent individuals as Matthew Arnold, Thomas Carlyle, and Thomas Henry Huxley.

His keen logic and gift for acute exposition and criticism were displayed in later years both in fiction and in controversial works. In a series of books dealing with religious questions he insisted on dogma as the basis of religion and on the impossibility of founding religion on purely scientific data. In Is Life Worth Living? (1879) [2] and The New Paul and Virginia (1878) he attacked Positivist theories, and in a volume on the intellectual position of the Church of England, Doctrine and Doctrinal Disruption (1900), he advocated the necessity of a strictly defined creed. Later volumes on similar topics were Religion as a Credible Doctrine (1903) and The Reconstruction of Belief (1905). He also authored articles, one in particular directed against Huxley's Agnosticism, entitled "'Cowardly Agnosticism' A Word with Professor Huxley," in the April 1889 issue of The Fortnightly Review [3].

He published several brilliant works on economics, directed against radical and socialist theories: Social Equality (1882), Property and Progress (1884), Labor and the Popular Welfare (1893), Classes and Masses (1896), Aristocracy and Evolution (1898), and A Critical Examination of Socialism (1908) [4]. Among his anti-socialist works should be classed his novel, The Old Order Changes (1886).

His other novels include A Romance of the Nineteenth Century (1881), A Human Document (1892), The Heart of Life (1895) and The Veil of the Temple (1904). He published a volume of Poems in 1880 and, in 1900, Lucretius on Life and Death in verse (a second edition of which he issued in 1910).

Ironically, this latter work came to be highly regarded by freethinkers and other religious skeptics. Corliss Lamont includes portions of the third canto in his A Humanist Funeral Service. Mallock himself, in his introduction, seems to be offering it, somewhat condescendingly, for the use of such non-Christians when he writes:

Those, however, who . . . are adherents of the principles which [Lucretius] shares with the latest scientists of to-day, can hardly find the only hope which is open to them expressed by any writer with a loftier and more poignant dignity than that with which they will find it expressed by the Roman disciple of Epicurus.

Artist Tom Phillips used Mallock's A Human Document as the basis for his project A Humument [5], where he took a copy of the novel and constructed a work of art using its pages.



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