Margaret Drabble is the author of eighteen novels, including The Needle’s Eye, The Peppered Moth, The Seven Sisters, The Sea Lady, and most recently, The Pure Gold Baby. Among her works of nonfiction are biographies of Arnold Bennett and Angus Wilson. She has edited the fifth and sixth editions of the Oxford Companion to World Literature and was made a Dame of the British Empire in 2008.

Fallen Woman

A hundred years ago, Mrs. Humphry Ward was one of the most famous women in Britain. She was highly paid, influential, and popular with an enormous readership on both sides of the Atlantic. And she was not only popular—she was taken seriously. She was no lightweight romantic, no Ouida or …