Contemporaries on GE's Life

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.

Biographical Studies: In this section, you 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.

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.

Field, Kate
Field, Kate. "English Authors in Florence," Pgs. 860-871, December 1864.

Underwood, Sara A.
Underwood, Sara A., Heroines of Freethought - George Eliot. New York: Charles P. Somerby, /J9 Eighth Street. 1876, Pgs. 295-327.

Downes, Annie Sawyer
Downes, Annie Sawyer. "George Eliot. One of her Receptions. Face— Figure—Manner—Voice—Dress," New York Daily Tribune, March 25, 1876, Pg. 7

Swinburne, Algernon Charles
Swinburne, Algernon Charles. A Note on Charlotte Brontë. Chatto & Windus, 1877.

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

"Death of 'George Eliot.'" London Daily News, 24 Dec. 1880, p. 5.

"Death of 'George Eliot.'" London Daily News, 24 Dec. 1880, p. 5.

Field, Kate
Field, Kate. "Recollections." Cincinnati Commercial, 26 Dec. 1880, p. 6.

"George Eliot." Guardian, 29 Dec. 1880, p. 1838-1839.

"George Eliot." Guardian, 29 Dec. 1880, p. 1838-1839.

"Here and There." South London Gazette and Camberwel News, 1 Jan. 1881, p. 2.

Allardyce, Alexander
Allardyce, Alexander. "George Eliot." Blackwood's Magazine, Feb. 1881, pp. 255–268.
1881-02 (Feb)

"George Eliot and George Lewes." Cincinnati Commercial, 18 Feb. 1881, p. 2.

"George Eliot." Cootamundra Herald, 19 Feb. 1881.

Simcox, Edith
Simcox, Edith. "George Eliot." The Nineteenth Century, May 1881, pp. 778–801.
1881-05 (May)

"A Trouble on Christmas Eve." London Magnet, 20 Jun. 1881, p. 6.

Parton, James
Parton, James. Noted Women of Europe and America. Copyrighted, 1883, by the Phoenix Publishing Company, Hartford, Conn., Pgs. 91-112.

Cooke, George Willis
Cooke, George Willis. George Eliot: A Critical Study. Boston and New York. Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1884.

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

"Eminent Women." Nonconformist and Independent, 23 Aug. 1883, p.754.

Bray, Charles
Bray, Charles. Phases of Opinion and Experience during a Long Life: an Autobiography. Longman, Greens, and Co., 1884.

Cooke, George Willis
Cooke, George Willis. George Eliot: A Critical Study of Her Life, Writings, and Philosophy. March 1884

Morley, John
Morley, John. "The Life of George Eliot." Macmillan's Magazine, Vol. 51, 1884, Pgs. 241-256.

Cross, John Walter
Eliot, George and J. W. (John Walter) Cross. George Eliot's Life: As Related In Her Letters And Journals. Cabinet Edition, Vol. 1-3, William Blackwood and Sons, 1885. George Eliot Archive, edited by Beverley Park Rilett,

Kingsley, Rose G.
Kingsley, Rose G. “The Country of George Eliot.” Century Magazine 30, 1885, pp. 339-52.

Myers, F. W. H.
Myers, F. W. H. Modern Essays, London Macmillan and Co. 1885, Pgs. 251-275

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

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

Hutton, R. H.
Hutton, R. H. Contemporary Review, Vol. 47, 1885, Pgs. 372-391.

Betham-Edwards, Mathilde
Betham-Edwards, Mathilde. Temple Bar, Vol. 73, 1885, Pgs. 226-232.

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

Hambley, E.B.
E.B. Hambley, The Life and Letters of George Eliot, Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Vol. 137, 1885, Pgs. 155-176.

Linton, Eliza Lynn
Linton, Eliza Lynn. Review of George Eliot's Life, Temple Bar, 1 Jan. 1885, pp. 512–524.

"Literary Notes." American Register, 24 Jan. 1885, p. 4.

Nonconformist and Independent, 29 Jan. 1885, p. 111.

Hamley, E. B.
Hamley, E. B. "The Life and Letters of George Eliot." Blackwood's Magazine, vol. 137, Feb. 1885, pp. 155–176.
1885-02 (Feb)

Dowden, Edward
Dowden, Edward. "[A Review of] George Eliot's Life as Related in her Letters and Journals." Academy, no. 666, 7 Feb. 1885, pp. 89–91.

"The Week." Mid-Surrey Times, 7 Feb. 1885.

"The Week." East London Press, 7 Feb. 1885, p. 2.

"New Books: George Eliot's Letters and Journals." Cincinnati Commercial Gazette, 15 Feb. 1885, p. 4.

Harrison, Frederic
Harrison, Frederic. "The Life of George Eliot." Fortnightly Review, vol. 43, Mar. 1885, pp. 309–322.
1885-03 (Mar)

"George Eliot." Philadelphia Times, 1 Mar. 1885, p. 7.

"Magazines for March." Guardian, 11 Mar. 1885, p. 378.

Guardian, 25 Mar. 1885, p. 460.

Oliphant, Margaret
Oliphant, Margaret. "The Life and Letters of George Eliot." Edinburgh Review, Apr. 1885, vol. 161, pp. 514–553.
1885-04 (Apr)

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

James, Henry
James, Henry. "George Eliot's Life." Atlantic Monthly, May 1885, vol. 55, pp. 668–678.
1885-05 (May)

Author Unknown
"George Eliot." Westminster Review, vol. 124, July 1885, pp. 161-208
1885-07 (July)

White, William Hale
White, William Hale. Literary Gossip. The Athenaeum

"[A Review of] The Life of George Eliot." The Guardian, 2 Dec. 1885, p. 1829.
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