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, 9 October 1872, p. 6
1872-10-09

Author Unknown
Athenaeum, 1 June 1872, p. 681
1872-06-01

Author Unknown
Athenaeum, 3 Feb 1872, p. 137-8
1872-02-03

Author Unknown
Athenaeum, 30 March 1872, p. 393
1872-03-30

Author Unknown
Daily News London, 29 Nov 1871, p. 5
1871-11-29

Author Unknown
Daily News London, 29 Jan 1872, p. 5
1872-01-29

Author Unknown
Examiner, 2 Dec 1871, p. 1192-3
1871-12-02

Author Unknown
Examiner, 27 July 1872, p. 743-4
1872-07-27

Author Unknown
Examiner, 3 Feb 1872, p. 125-6
1872-02-03

Author Unknown
Examiner, 30 Mar 1872, p. 333-4
1872-03-30

Author Unknown
Examiner, 5 Oct 1872, p. 985-6
1872-10-05

Author Unknown
Examiner, 7 Dec 1872, p. 1204-5
1872-10-07

Author Unknown
Examiner, 8 Jun 1872, p. 575-6
1872-06-08

Author Unknown
Leeds Mercury, 14 Dec 1872, p. 12
1872-12-14

Author Unknown
Standard [London], 13 Nov 1872, p. 5
1872-11-13

Author Unknown
Standard [London], 2 Dec 1872, p. 5
1872-12-02

Bessie Rayner Belloc
Ward & Downey, 1895.
1895

Charles Bray
Longman, Greens, and Co., 1884
1884

Charles S. Olcott
Olcott, Charles S. "George Eliot: Scenes and People In her Novels." Cassell, 1910.
1910

Clara Thomson
Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner, 1901.
1901

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

E. B. Hamley
Blackwood's Magazine, vol. 137, Feb. 1885, pp. 155–176.
1885-02 (Feb)

E. S. Dallas
The Times, 12 Apr. 1859, p. 5.
1859-04-12

E. S. Dallas
The Times, 19 May 1860, p. 10.
1860-05-19

E. S. Dallas
The Times, 26 June 1866, p. 6.
1866-06-26

E. S. Dallas
The Times, 29 Apr. 1861, p. 12.
1861-04-29

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

Edward Dowden
Academy, no. 666, 7 Feb. 1885, pp. 89–91.
1885-02-07

Edward Dowden
The Contemporary Review, vol. 20, Aug. 1872, pp. 403–422.
1872-08 (Aug)

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

Eleanor Marx Aveling and Edward Aveling
Westminster Review, vol. 125, Jan. 1886, pp. 207–222.
1886-01 (Jan)

Eliza Lynn Linton
Women Novelists of Queen Victoria's Reign: A Book of Appreciations, Hurst and Blackett, 1897, pp. 63–115.
1897

Eliza Lynn Linton
Review of George Eliot's Life, Temple Bar, 1 Jan. 1885, pp. 512–524.
1885-01-01

Eliza Lynn Linton
Hodder and Stoughton, 1899.
1899

Elizabeth Stuart Phelps
Phelps, Elizabeth Stuart. “Last Words from George Eliot.” Harper’s Magazine 66, Mar. 1883, pp. 568-71.
1883-03(Mar)

Frederic Harrison
Fortnightly Review, vol. 43, Mar. 1885, pp. 309–322.
1885-03 (Mar)

Frederick Napier Broome
The Times, 7 Mar. 1873, p. 3.
1873-03-07

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

George Saintsbury
Academy, 9 Sept. 1876, pp. 253–254.
1876-09-09

Geraldine Jewsbury
Athenaeum, 26 Feb. 1859, p. 284.
1859-02-26

H. H. Lancaster
The North British Review, Sept. 1866, pp. 197–228.
1866-09 (Sept)

Hannah Amelia Davidson
Study Guide Series, 1897.
1897

Hattie Tyng Griswold
A. C. McClurg, 1887.
1887

Helen Cone Gray and Jeannette L. Gilder
Cassell and Company, 1888.
1888

Henry James
Atlantic Monthly, May 1885, vol. 55, pp. 668–678.
1885-05 (May)

Henry James
Atlantic Monthly, Oct. 1866, vol. 18, pp. 479–492.
1866-10 (Oct)

Henry James
The Nation, 16 Aug. 1866, pp. 127–128.
1866-08-16

Henry James
The Galaxy, Mar. 1873, pp. 424–428.
1873-03 (Mar)

Henry James
Atlantic Monthly, Dec. 1876, pp. 684–694.
1876-12 (Dec.)

Herbert Spencer
Spencer, Herbert. Herbert Spencer: an Autobiography. Vol. 1-2, Williams and Norgate, 1904.
1904-04(Apr)
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