Huxley, Thomas Henry (1825-1895)


Huxley, Thomas Henry (1825-1895)


Thomas Henry Huxley upset George Eliot greatly while she was working on the Westminster Review by submitting a hostile review of George Henry Lewes’s translation of Comte‘s Philosophy of the Sciences. Huxley accused Lewes of being an amateur, having only ”book knowledge” of scientific subjects and no experience with experimentation. Eliot tried to have the article omitted or altered, but failed. Huxley coined the term “agnostic” to describe his own position regarding religion, which closely corresponded with Eliot’s views.

The relationship between Lewes and Huxley improved over the years, to the point where Huxley was appointed one of the trustees of the George Henry Lewes Studentship at Cambridge following Lewes’s death. Surprisingly, upon Eliot’s death, Huxley opposed the petition to bury George Eliot in Westminster Abbey's Poet's Corner. Huxley argued that while she was indeed a great writer, she was also ”a person whose life and opinions were in notorious antagonism in Christian practice in regard to marriage, and Christian theory in regard to dogma.”


George Eliot Archive, edited by Beverley Park Rilett,


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