About this bookFirst published in 1853, The Heir of Redclyffe was among the most successful novels of the century, equalling even the work of Dickens and Thackeray in popularity. The story of a clash of personality between well-born cousins, Guy Morville and Philip Edmonstone, the plot focuses on Guy's spiritual struggle to overcome the darker side of his nature. Philip's sinister insinuations about Guy's character almost thwart Guy's marriage to the gentle Amy, yet despite their bitter feuding the novel reaches an unexpected and dramatic conclusion that vindicates romantic virtue, self-sacrifice, and piety, epitomizing the period's nostalgia for an idealized chivalric past.
Adopted by William Morris and Burne-Jones as 'a pattern for actual life', Guy was a popular role model of noble virtue, while Amy is the ideal Victorian wife - redeemer and inspirer, support and guide. The Heir of Redclyffe is a virtual paradigm of the trends of thought which characterized the middle decades of the nineteenth century. It is deeply marked by the influence of the Oxford Movement, an aspect explored by Barbara Dennis in her Introduction to this unique critical edition.