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.

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

Matilda Betham-Edwards
Macmillan, 1919.
1919

Lina Wright Berle
Mitchell Kennerley, 1917.
1917

"Mark Rutherford" (William Hale White)
Oxford University Press, 1915.
1915

Mary H. Deakin
Manchester University Press, 1913.
1913

Mathilde Blind
1904 (First ed 1883)

Leslie Stephen
Macmillan & Co., 1902
1902

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

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

Eliza Lynn Linton
Hodder and Stoughton, 1899.
1899

Hannah Amelia Davidson
Study Guide Series, 1897.
1897

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

Bessie Rayner Belloc
Ward & Downey, 1895.
1895

Oscar Browning
Walter Scott, 1890
1890

Lisbeth Gooch Seguin
A. Strahan, 1888.
1888

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

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

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

Abba Goold Woolson
Harper, 1886.
1886

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rose Elizabeth Cleveland
Funk and Wagnalls, 1885.
1885

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alexander Allardyce
Blackwood's Magazine, Feb. 1881, pp. 255–268.
1881-02 (Feb)

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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