Jowett, Benjamin (1817-1893)


Jowett, Benjamin (1817-1893)


Benjamin Jowett was an English classical scholar, theologian, educationist, and elected Master of Balliol College, Oxford. George Eliot met him at Oxford in 1870, after which she and George Henry Lewes paid weekend visits in the 1870s. His letters show admiration for Eliot, describing her as 'the cleverest head [he had] ever known' and 'the gentlest, kindest, and best of women.'

Not only was he an admirer of Eliot's works, Jowett was also a close and trusted friend. In 1879, following Lewes's death, Jowett wrote a letter of condolence in which he urged her to keep writing and that she must not abandon what was 'a precious trust.' Regarding Eliot's decision to marry John Walter Cross, Jowett told her she must not give up affection for the sake of what other people say.


George Eliot Archive, edited by Beverley Park Rilett,