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Mark Rutherford

Pen name of William Hale White (1831- 1913), English novelist. Born and educated at Bedford, he studied for the Congregational ministry, but was expelled for doctrinal deviation. He subsequently enjoyed a successful career in the civil service. Two of his novels describe his own spiritual history, The Autobiography of Mark Rutherford (1881) and Mark Rutherford's Deliverance (1885). He wrote also four others, The Revolution in Tanner's Lane (1887), Miriam's Schooling (1890), Catherine Furze (1894), and Clara Hopgood (1896). Rutherford's novels are poorly constructed and rather colorless in tone, but they convey a sympathetic and realistic view of the world of the petty bourgeoisie who made up the Dissenting congregations with which he dealt. He manages to bring out particularly well the impact in the mid- and late-nineteenth century of the new scientific ideas and higher criticism of the Bible on the fundamentalist attitudes of such people. The Autobiography deals with his own emancipation from Calvinism.