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.

William Mottram
Mottram, William, George Eliot, and George Eliot. The True Story of George Eliot In Relation to "Adam Bede": Giving the Real Life History of the More Prominent Characters. American ed. Chicago: McClurg, 1906.
1906-10-13

William Hale White
Rutherford, Mark. The Autobiography of Mark Rutherford. Edited by Reuben Shapcott, 11th ed., T. Fisher Unwin, 1884.
1884

W. Lucas Collins
Blackwood's Magazine, vol. 112, Dec. 1872, pp. 727–745.
1872-12 (Dec)

W. J. Courthope
The Quarterly Review, vol. 147, Jan. 1879, pp. 81–112.
1879-01 (Jan)

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

Thomas Adolphus Trollope
Trollope, Thomas Adolphus. What I Remember. Vol. 1-2, Richard Bentley and Son, 1887.
1887

Thomas Adolphus Trollope
Trollope, Thomas Adolphus. What I Remember. Vol. 1-2, Richard Bentley and Son, 1887.
1887

T. E. Kebbel
Fraser's Magazine, Feb. 1881, pp. 263–276.
1881-02 (Feb)

Sidney Colvin
Fortnightly Review, vol. 26, Nov. 1876, pp. 601–616.
1876-11 (Nov)

Sidney Colvin
Fortnightly Review, vol. 19, Jan. 1873, pp. 142–147.
1873-01 (Jan)

Sarah K. Bolton
Thomas Y. Crowell and Co., 1886, pp. 213-39
1886

Samuel Lucas
The Times, 2 Jan. 1858, p. 9.
1858-01-02

Rose G. Kingsley
Kingsley, Rose G. “The Country of George Eliot.” Century Magazine 30, 1885, pp. 339-52.
1885

Rose Elizabeth Cleveland
Funk and Wagnalls, 1885.
1885

Robert Laing
The Quarterly Review, Apr. 1873, pp. 336–369.
1873-04 (Apr)

Richard Monckton Milnes
Edinburgh Review [American Review], Jan. 1873, pp. 126–135.
1873-01 (Jan)

Rev. W. Lucas Collins
Blackwood's Magazine, vol. 87, May 1860, pp. 490-504
1860-05 (May)

Rev. W. Lucas Collins
Blackwood's Magazine, vol. 87, May 1860, pp. 611–623.
1860-05 (May)

R. R. Bowker
International Review, IV, Jan. 1877, pp. 68–76.
1877-01 (Jan)

R. H. Hutton
British Quarterly Review, vol. 57, 1873, pp. 407–429.
1873

R. H. Hutton
The Spectator, 12 Feb. 1876.
1876-02-12

R. H. Hutton
The Spectator, 29 July 1876.
1876-07-29

R. H. Hutton
The Spectator, 10 June 1876.
1876-06-10

R. H. Hutton
The Spectator, 8 Apr. 1876.
1876-04-08

R. H. Hutton
The Spectator, 1 June 1872.
1872-06-01

R. H. Hutton
The Spectator, 18 July 1863.
1863-07-18

Oscar Browning
Walter Scott, 1890
1890

May Tomlinson
Tomlinson, May. “Rosamond and Lydgate.” South Atlantic Quarterly 17, 1918, pp. 320-29.
1918

May Tomlinson
Tomlinson, May. “Rosamond and Lydgate.” South Atlantic Quarterly 17, 1918, pp. 320-29.
1918

May Tomlinson
Tomlinson, May. “Dodsons and Tullivers.” Sewanee Review 26 July 1918, pp. 319-27.
1918-07(July)

May Tomlinson
Tomlinson, May. “The Beginning of George Eliot’s Art: A Study of Scenes of Clerical Life.” Sewanee Review 27, July 1919, pp. 320-329.
1919-07(July)

Matilda Betham-Edwards
Macmillan, 1919.
1919

Mathilde Blind
1904 (First ed 1883)

Mary H. Deakin
Manchester University Press, 1913.
1913

Mary Bradford Whiting
Whiting, Mary Bradford. “George Eliot as a Character Artist.” Westminster Review 138, 1892, pp. 406-415.
1892

Maria Louise Henry
Henry, Maria Louise. “The Morality of Thackeray and George Eliot.” Atlantic Monthly 51, Feb. 1883, pp. 243-248.
1882-02(Feb)

Margaret Oliphant
Edinburgh Review, Apr. 1885, vol. 161, pp. 514–553.
1885-04 (Apr)

Margaret Lonsdale
Kegan Paul, Trench and Company, 1886.
1886

Lucy Clifford
Clifford, Lucy. “A Remembrance of George Eliot.” Nineteenth Century 74, July 1913, pp. 109-118.
1913-07(July)

Lisbeth Gooch Seguin
A. Strahan, 1888.
1888

Lina Wright Berle
Mitchell Kennerley, 1917.
1917

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

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

Joseph Jacobs
Macmillan's Magazine, June 1877, pp. 101–111.
1877-06 (June)

Joseph Angus
Westminster Review, Jan 1872, p. 131-2
1872-01 (Jan)

John Morley
Macmillan's Magazine, May 1866, pp. 272–279.
1866-05 (May)

John Chapman
Westminster Review [American Edition], vol. 71, Apr. 1859, pp. 269–283.
1859-04 (Apr)
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