Commentary by Contemporaries

An understanding of how George Eliot’s contemporaries were reading and responding to her published works helps us appreciate her reach, her fame, and her historical significance.

Literature Reviews: The George Eliot Archive team has identified and collected most of the reviews of Eliot’s works written during her lifetime, many more than any printed collection. We’ve found, for example, twice as many reviews of Middlemarch by Eliot’s contemporaries than have been collected previously, and we continue to add more as we find them in various databases of digitized periodicals.

Biographical Studies: In this section, you also will find assessments of Eliot’s life by her contemporaries—everything from brief commentary in periodicals to book-length biographies. Obituary notices are well represented, including several later tributes written by famous authors whose own work was influenced by Eliot’s, including Henry James and Virginia Woolf. Most significant is the biography written by her husband, John Walter Cross, which includes many of Eliot's letters and journal entries. Reviews of Cross’s biography are collected here for the first time.

Author Unknown
Aberdeen Journal, 21 August 1872, p. 6
1872-08-21

Author Unknown
Aberdeen Journal, 19 June 1872, p. 6
1872-06-19

Author Unknown
Aberdeen Journal, 1 May 1872, p. 9
1872-05-01

David Kaufmann, translated from the German by J. W. Ferrier
William Blackwood and Sons, 1878
Second Edition
1878

Author Unknown
Saturday Review, vol. 135, 29 May 1858, pp. 566-7
1859-05-29

Author Unknown
London Quarterly and Holborn Review, vol. 40, 1873, pp. 99-110
1873

Author Unknown
British Quarterly Review, vol. 45, 1867, pp. 141-78
1867

Author Unknown
Athenaeum, 1 July 1876, pp. 14-15
1876-07-01

Author Unknown
Athenaeum, 7 December 1872, pp. 725-26
1872-12-07

Author Unknown
Athenaeum, 7 April 1860, pp. 467-68
1860-04-07

Author Unknown
British Controversialist and Literary Magazine, 1860, pp. 412-16
1860

Author Unknown
British Controversialist and Literary Magazine, 1859, pp. 268-73
1859

Author Unknown
Academy, vol. 18, 24 December 1880, p. 460
1880-12-24

Author Unknown
Westminster Review, October 1863, pp. 344-52
1863-10 (Oct)

Author Unknown
Athenaeum, 11 July 1863, p. 46
1863-07-11

Author Unknown
Westminster Review, vol. 54, July 1878, pp. 105-35
1878-07 (July)

Author Unknown
The Jewish Chronicle, 15 December 1876, pp. 585-6
1876-12-15

Author Unknown
The Saturday Review, 16 September 1876, pp. 356-8
1876-09-16

Author Unknown
Examiner, 2 September 1876, pp. 993-4
1876-09-02

Author Unknown
Academy, 5 February 1876, p. 120
1876-02-05

Author Unknown
The Observer, 17 December 1871
1871-12-17

Author Unknown
Westminster Review, January 1882, pp. 65-81
1882-01 (Jan)

Author Unknown
Edinburgh Review, January 1873, pp. 246-63
1873-01 (Jan)

Author Unknown
The Saturday Review, 21 December 1872, pp. 796
1872-12-21

Author Unknown
The Saturday Review, 7 December 1872, pp. 733-4
1872-12-07

Author Unknown
Examiner, 7 December 1872, pp. 1204-5
1872-12-07

Author Unknown
The Daily News, 28 November 1871
1871-11-28

Author Unknown
Westminster Review, July 1866, pp. 200-207
1866-07 (July)

Author Unknown
Blackwood's Magazine, July 1866, pp. 94-109
1866-07 (July)

Author Unknown
The Saturday Review, 16 June 1866, pp. 722-4
1866-06-16

Author Unknown
The Saturday Review, 13 April 1861, pp. 369-70
1861-04-13

Author Unknown
Macmillan's Magazine, April 1861, pp. 441-8
1861-04 (April)

Author Unknown
The Atlas, 14 April 1860, pp. 290-2
1860-04-14

Author Unknown
Leader, 14 April 1860, pp. 355-6
1860-04-14

Author Unknown
The Saturday Review, 14 April 1860, pp. 471-2
1860-04-14

Author Unknown
The Spectator, 7 Apr. 1860, pp. 330-331
1860-04-07

Author Unknown
Westminster Review, vol. 65, Jan. 1884, pp. 151-62
1884-01 (Jan)

Author Unknown
British Quarterly Review, vol. 81, Apr. 1885, pp. 316-33
1885-04 (Apr)

Author Unknown
Westminster Review, vol. 124, July 1885, pp. 161-208
1885-07 (July)

Author Unknown
The Morning Chronicle, 28 Feb. 1859, p. 6
1859-02-28

Annie Adams Fields
Century Magazine, vol. 58, Jul. 1899, pp. 442-446
1899-07 (July)

Virginia Woolf
Times Literary Supplement, 20 Nov. 1919, pp. 657–658.
1919-11-20

Edwin P. Whipple
The North American Review, Jan. 1877, pp. 31–52.
1877-01 (Jan)

Julia Wedgwood
The Contemporary Review, 1 Jan. 1881, pp. 173–185.
1881-01 (Jan)

Leslie Stephen
Cornhill Magazine, Jan. 1881, pp. 34–50.
1881-01 (Jan)

Leslie Stephen
Cornhill Magazine, Feb. 1881, pp. 152–168.
1881-02 (Feb)

Leslie Stephen
Macmillan & Co., 1902
1902

George Barnett Smith
Saint Paul's Magazine, May 1873, pp. 592–616.
1873-05 (May)

Edith Simcox
The Nineteenth Century, May 1881, pp. 778–801.
1881-05 (May)
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