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The Early Life of Mark Rutherford (W. Hale White)   By: (1831-1913)

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In "The Early Life of Mark Rutherford" by Mark Rutherford, we are taken on a poignant journey through the formative years of the protagonist's life. Through his compelling narrative, the author explores themes of self-discovery, religious skepticism, and the complexities of human relationships.

The book follows Mark as he grows up in a small English village during the 19th century, providing readers with a vivid portrayal of the challenges he faces in reconciling his desires with the constraints of society. Mark's struggle with the rigid religious beliefs of his time forms a central theme of the novel. Rutherford skillfully navigates the delicate balance between respecting tradition and questioning its validity, creating a thought-provoking exploration of doubt and faith in the face of societal expectations.

Rutherford's prose is both evocative and introspective, engaging readers with his vivid descriptions of the English countryside and drawing them into the thoughts and emotions of his complex characters. Mark's relationships with his family, friends, and the various figures he encounters along his journey provide glimpses into the multi-faceted nature of human connections, from the joy and fulfillment they can bring, to the disappointments and misunderstandings that often arise.

At the heart of the story is Mark's longing for a life of intellectual pursuits and personal fulfillment, which often clash with the responsibilities and limitations imposed by his circumstances. As readers witness his struggles, they are invited to reflect upon their own desires and aspirations, empathizing with the universal human experience of pursuing one's dreams in the face of adversity.

"The Early Life of Mark Rutherford" paints a vivid portrait of a young man's quest for identity and purpose, while raising important questions about the role of religion and the individual in society. Rutherford's storytelling prowess and deep understanding of human nature make this book a compelling read for anyone interested in examining the inner workings of the human soul.

First Page:


Autobiographical Notes

I have been asked at 78 years old to set down what I remember of my early life. A good deal of it has been told before under a semi transparent disguise, with much added which is entirely fictitious. What I now set down is fact.

I was born in Bedford High Street, on December 22, 1831. I had two sisters and a brother, besides an elder sister who died in infancy. My brother, a painter of much promise, died young. Ruskin and Rossetti thought much of him. He was altogether unlike the rest of us, in face, in temper, and in quality of mind. He was very passionate, and at times beyond control. None of us understood how to manage him. What would I not give to have my time with him over again! Two letters to my father about him are copied below:

(185 )


"I am much vexed with myself for not having written this letter sooner. There were several things I wanted to say respecting the need of perseverance in painting as well as in other businesses, which it would take me too long to say in the time I have at command so I must just answer the main question. Your son has very singular gifts for painting. I think the work he has done at the College nearly the most promising of any that has yet been done there, and I sincerely trust the apparent want of perseverance has hitherto been only the disgust of a creature of strong instincts who has not got into its own element he seems to me a fine fellow and I hope you will be very proud of him some day but I very seriously think you must let him have his bent in this matter and then if he does not work steadily take him to task to purpose... Continue reading book >>

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