Contemporaries on George Eliot's Life

An understanding of how George Eliot’s contemporaries were reading and responding to her life and works helps us appreciate her reach, her fame, and her historical significance.

Biographical Studies: In this section, you will find assessments of Eliot’s life by her contemporaries—everything from brief commentary in periodicals, to chapters in collective biographies, to complete, book-length biographies.

Most significant is the 1885 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. In our Correspondence section, every one of the 894 letters Cross collected is sortable and searchable.

When she died after a brief illness at the age of sixty-one, George Eliot was one of England's most famous literary celebrities. Obituary notices are well represented in this collection, including several later tributes written by famous authors whose own work was influenced by Eliot’s, including Henry James and Virginia Woolf. 

It is interesting to note how often early biographical sketches included incorrect information. We retain these, of course, for the benefit of comparison and the historical interest of these records.

"News." Portsmouth Evening News, 20 Sept. 1881, p. 2.
1881-09-20

"Funeral of 'George Eliot.'" Aberdeen Weekly Journal, 1 Jan. 1881.
1881-01-01

"To-day." Hull Daily Mail, 22 Dec. 1896, p. 4.
1896-12-22

"A Traveller's Experiences in the Georg Eliot Country." Leicester Chronicle and the Leicestershire Mercury, 9 Jun. 1894, p. 11.
1894-06-09

"Multiple News Items." Standard, 24 June 1895, p. 3.
1895-06-24

"George Eliot." Northern Echo, 9 Feb. 1885, p. 4. George Eliot Archive.
1885-02-09

"George Eliot." Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 8 May 1876, p. 3.
1876-05-08

"Some Recollections of George Eliot." Pall Mall Gazette, 5 Jan. 1885. p. 11.
1885-01-05

"Charles Bray on George Eliot.". The Critic, Vol. 5, 1885, Pgs. 56-57.
1885

Academy, vol. 18, 24 December 1880, p. 460
1880-12-24

"George Eliot." British Quarterly Review, vol. 81, Apr. 1885, pp. 316-33
1885-04 (Apr)

Williams, Blanche Colton
Williams, Blanche Colton. George Eliot: a Biography. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1936
1936

White, William Hale (pen name: "Mark Rutherford")
White, William Hale. "George Eliot as I Knew Her." Last Pages from a Journal. Oxford University Press, 1915.
1915

White, William Hale
White, William Hale. Literary Gossip. The Athenaeum
1885-11-28

White, William Hale
The Athenaeum
1894-12-08

White, R. G.
White, R. G. "Something on George Eliot's Personal Apperance" Burlington Weekly Free Press, 8 Aug 1873, p. 1.
1873-08-08

Whipple, Edwin
Edwin Whipple, Private Life of George Eliot, The North American Review, Vol. 141, No. 374, 1885, Pgs. 320-330.
1885

Whipple, E.P.
Whipple, E.P., North American Review, Vol. 141, 1885, Pgs. 320-330.
1885

Walters, J. Cuming
Walters, J. Cuming."Glimpses of George Eliot's Warwickshire Scenery." Bygone Warwickshire, edited by William Andrews. Hull : W. Andrews & co, 1893, pp. 261-279.
1893

Walker, Mrs. Hugh
Walker, Mrs. Hugh. Stories of Victorian Writers. Cambridge at the University Press 1922, Pgs. 86-93.
1922

Walford, L.B.
Walford, L.B. Twelve English Authoresses. London Longmans, Green, and Co. and New York: East 16th Street 1892, Pgs. 186-200.
1892

Wakeman, Edgar L.
Wakeman, Edgar L. "George Eliot's Early Home." Leeds Mercury, 18 May 1895.
1895-05-18

Wakeman, Edgar L
Wakeman, Edgar L. "Wakeman's Wanderings: Some Features of George Eliot's Girlhood Home." Morning News, 8 May 1892.
1892-05-08

Wakeman, Edgar L
Wakeman, Edgar L. "The Home of George Eliot." Delaware Gazette and State Journal, 12 May 1892.
1892-05-12

W.
W. "The Ethics of Gambling." Standard, 18 Jan. 1889, p. 3.
1889-01-18

Unwin, T. Fisher
Unwin, T Fisher. "Matrimonial Happiness." Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle, 12 Dec. 1885, p. 12.
1885-12-12

Unknown
"News." Sheffield Evening Telegraph, 6 Apr. 1888, p. 2.
1888-04-06

Unknown
"Recollections of George Eliot." Westminster Budget, 26 Jun. 1896, p. 14.
1907-03-16

Unknown
"Ipswich Literary Society." Ipswich Journal, 18 July 1896, p. 8.
1896-07-18

Unknown
"Days of the Week." Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper, 20 Dec. 1896, p. 8.
1896-12-20

Unknown
"In the Sale Rooms." Pall Mall Gazette, 21 May 1890, p. 3.
1890-05-21

Unknown
"The Manuscripts of George Eliot's Works." Pall Mall Gazette, 18 July 1891, p. 6.
1891-07-18

Unknown
"Literary Notes." Morning Post, 7 Oct. 1891, p. 3.
1891-10-07

Unknown
"Obituary." Yorkshire Herald, 28 Nov. 1896, p. 5.
1896-11-28

Unknown
"Local Intelligence." Northern Warder and Bi-weekly Courier and Argus, 13 July 1880, p. 2.
1880-07-13

Unknown
"Some Famous Authors." Blackburn Standard, 22 July 1899, p. 9.
1899-07-22

Unknown
"Domestic Intelligence." Bury and Norwich Post, 4 Jan. 1881, p. 2.
1881-01-04

Unknown
"London Gossip." York Herald, 27 Feb. 1885, p. 5.
1885-02-27

Unknown
"Literature, Science, & Art." Bucks Herald, 5 Feb. 1881, p. 3.
1881-02-05

Unknown
"Magazines for February." Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 1 Feb. 1881, p. 3.
1881-02-01

Unknown
"Gossip of the Week." Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 21 Sept. 1895, p. 2.
1895-09-21

Unknown
"Tit-Bits From 'Truth." Portsmouth Evening News, 11 Mar. 1891, p. 2.
1891-03-11

Unknown
"Literature, Science, and Art." Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 5 Feb. 1881, p. 9.
1881-02-05

Unknown
"Social Record." Hull Daily Mail, 12 July 1917, p. 2.
1917-07-12

Unknown
"Man, Woman, and the Vote." Hull Daily Mail, 29 Mar. 1912, p. 4.
1912-03-29

Unknown
"Religious Services." Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette, 5 Dec. 1887, p. 3.
1887-12-05

Unknown
"A Link with 'Mr. Gilfil's Love Story.'" Tamworth Herald, 21 June 1924, p. 3.
192-06-21

Unknown
"Literature." Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper, 5 Apr. 1885, p. 5.
1885-04-05

Unknown
"Literature, Science, and Art." Belfast News-Letter, 7 Feb. 1881, p. 7.
1881-02-07

Unknown
"Death of 'George Eliot.'" Birmingham Daily Post, 24 Dec. 1880, p. 8.
1880-12-24
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