Apologia Pro Vita Sua

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Apologia Pro Vita Sua
Title page of the first edition of Apologia Pro Vita Sua.jpg
Title page of the first edition.
AuthorJohn Henry Newman
PublisherLongman, Green, Longman, Roberts & Green
Publication date

Apologia Pro Vita Sua (Latin: A defence of one's own life) is John Henry Newman's defence of his religious opinions, published in 1864 in response to Charles Kingsley of the Church of England after Newman quit his position as the Anglican vicar of St. Mary's, Oxford.


Friction during the years from 1833 to 1841 had led Newman and his allies in the Oxford Movement to publish a statement, the Tracts for the Times, to which Newman was a contributor. The tensions culminated in Newman's 1845 resignation as Anglican vicar of St. Mary's, Oxford and his departure from the Anglican church and conversion to Roman Catholicism.[1]

Newman's essay was written in response to attacks from Charles Kingsley of the broad church party, and Newman's rival in the controversy surrounding the Tractarian movement, who responded to Newman's conversion with attacks impeaching his truthfulness and honor.[1] Apologia Pro Vita Sua was a spiritual autobiographical defense to Kingsley's attacks.

The book became a bestseller, and remains in print today. A revised version of the Apologia Pro Vita Sua with many passages rewritten and some parts omitted, was published in 1865.[2]

Margaret Atwood’s 2019 novel The Testaments references the book in that one of the main characters (Aunt Lydia) secretes her own defence ("The Ardua Hall Holograph") within its pages.


  1. ^ Newman, John Henry. "Apologia pro Vita Sua". newmanreader.org. Retrieved 23 September 2016.
  2. ^ Svaglic, Martin J. (1952). "The Revision of Newman's 'Apologia'," Modern Philology, Vol. 50, No. 1, pp. 43–49.

Further reading[edit]

  • Colby, Robert A. (1953). "The Poetical Structure of Newman's 'Apologia Pro Vita Sua'," The Journal of Religion, Vol. 33, No. 1, pp. 47–57.
  • Deen, Leonard W. (1962). "The Rhetoric of Newman's Apologia," ELH, Vol. 29, No. 2, pp. 224–238.
  • Peterson, Linda H. (1985). "Newman's Apologia Pro Vita Sua and the Traditions of the English Spiritual Autobiography," PMLA, Vol. 100, No. 3, pp. 300–314.
  • Ward, Wilfrid (1913). Introduction to Apologia Pro Vita Sua. London: Oxford University Press, pp. v–xxx.

External links[edit]