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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

James Craigie Robertson
The Quarterly Review, Oct. 1860, pp. 469–499.
1860-10 (Oct)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A. G. Sedgewick
The North American Review, Oct. 1866, pp. 557–563.
1866-10 (Oct)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author Unknown
Aberdeen Journal, 24 Jan 1872, p. 6
1872-01-24

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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