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.

Hannah Amelia Davidson
Study Guide Series, 1897.
1897

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

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

Algernon Charles Swinburne
Swinburne, Algernon Charles. A Note on Charlotte Brontë. Chatto & Windus, 1877.
1877

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Annie Matheson
Matheson, Annie. “Children in the Novels of George Eliot.” Macmillan’s Magazine 46, 1882, pp. 488-97.
1882

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

Mathilde Blind
1904 (First ed 1883)

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

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

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

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

Leslie Stephen
Macmillan & Co., 1902
1902

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

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

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

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

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

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

Abba Goold Woolson
Harper, 1886.
1886

Annie E. Ireland
Ireland, Annie E. “George Eliot and Jane Welsh Carlyle.” Gentleman’s Magazine 264, 1888, pp. 229-238.
1888

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

Lina Wright Berle
Mitchell Kennerley, 1917.
1917

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