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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rose Elizabeth Cleveland
Funk and Wagnalls, 1885.
1885

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

Bessie Rayner Belloc
Ward & Downey, 1895.
1895

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

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

Oscar Browning
Walter Scott, 1890
1890

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

Matilda Betham-Edwards
Macmillan, 1919.
1919

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

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

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

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

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

Author Unknown
Examiner, 7 December 1872, pp. 1204-5
1872-12-07

Author Unknown
The Saturday Review, 7 December 1872, pp. 733-4
1872-12-07

Author Unknown
The Saturday Review, 21 December 1872, pp. 796
1872-12-21

Author Unknown
Edinburgh Review, January 1873, pp. 246-63
1873-01 (Jan)

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

Author Unknown
Athenaeum, 7 December 1872, pp. 725-26
1872-12-07

Author Unknown
London Quarterly and Holborn Review, vol. 40, 1873, pp. 99-110
1873

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

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

Author Unknown
Aberdeen Journal, 21 August 1872, p. 6
1872-08-21

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

Author Unknown
Aberdeen Journal, 22 Jan 1873, p. 6
1873-01-22

Author Unknown
Aberdeen Journal, 6 November 1872, p. 6
1872-11-06

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 Jan 1872, p. 5
1872-01-29

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

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

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