Owen, Richard (1804-1892)


Owen, Richard (1804-1892)


George Eliot first met Richard Owen, a well-respected zoologist and paleontologist, when she was working on the Westminster Review at John Chapman’s residence in the Strand. Owen was attending a meeting chaired by Charles Dickens to protest against the fixing of book prices in 1852. Eliot described him as “the greatest celebrity of the meeting” in a letter to Charles Bray. He was an early admirer of Eliot’s fiction, thinking highly of Amos Barton and regarding Adam Bede as “the finest work since Scott.” Eliot and Owen became better friends as neighbors in East Sheen. George Henry Lewes seems to have both admired Owen and seen him as a rival scientist. Lewes’s Sea-Side Studies appears to challenge Owen’s discoveries regarding the various classes of molluscs and sponges, and yet, when the series of articles was published in book form, Lewes dedicated it to Owen.


George Eliot Archive, edited by Beverley Park Rilett, https://GeorgeEliotArchive.org


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