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.

Unknown
"A Trouble on Christmas Eve." London Magnet, 20 Jun. 1881, p. 6.
1881-06-20

Downs, Annie Sawyer.
Downs, Annie Sawyer. "A Visit to George Eliot." Congregationalist, 28 May 1879, p. 3.
1879-05-28

Unknown
"A Visit to George Eliot." Yorkshire Evening Post, 29 June 1899, p. 5.
1899-06-29

Unknown
"A Visit to the Grave of George Eliot." Evening Star, 25 May 1907.
1907-05-25

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

Unknown
"A Woman of Rare and Noble Endowments, A Great." Times, 24 Dec. 1880, p. 7.
1880-12-24

Unknown
"A Woman's Estimate of George Eliot." St. Louis Globe-Democrat, 10 May 1885, p. 6.
1885-05-10

Unknown
"A Wonderful Woman." Rocky Mountain News, 5 Oct. 1881, p. 2.
1881-10-05

Unknown
"Adam Bede's Cottage." Hull Daily Mail, 9 Oct. 1918, p. 3.
1918-10-09

Unknown
"American Fiction." Aberdeen Journal, 7 Jan. 1880, p. 2.
1880-01-07

Unknown
"American Portraits of London Celebrities." Dundee Courier and Argus, 20 May 1873, p. 6.
1873-05-20

Unknown
"American Portraits of London Celebrities." Dundee Courier and Argus, 19 May 1873.
1873-05-19

Unknown
"Among Our Exchanges." Congregationalist, 10 Apr. 1873.
1873-04-10

Buchanan, Robert
Buchanan, Robert. "An Afternoon with George Eliot." Rocky Mountain News, 24 Jan. 1885, p. 6.
1885-01-24

Unknown
"An Author's Memories." Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle, 7 May 1898.
1898-05-07

Unknown
"An Authoress's Charm." Milwaukee Daily Sentinel, 10 Nov. 1873, p. 6.
1873-11-10

Spencer, Herbert
Spencer, Herbert. Herbert Spencer: an Autobiography. Vol. 1-2, Williams and Norgate, 1904.
1904-04(Apr)

Unknown
"An Impression of George Eliot." Lowell Daily Citizen and News, 20 Aug. 1875.
1875-08-20

Lehman, R. C.
Lehman, R. C. "An Impression of George Eliot." Armidale Express and New Engand General Advertiser, 3 Dec. 1909, p. 6.
1909-12-03

Unknown
"An Unpleasant Picture of George Eliot." Milwaukee Sentinel, 7 Dec. 1899, p. 4.
1899-12-07

Unknown
"Anecdote of George Eliot's Anonymity." Dundee Courier & Argus, 3 Jan. 1881.
1881-01-03

Unknown
"Anecdotes Worth Telling." Galveston Daily News, 29 Mar. 1896, p. 10.
1896-03-29

Unknown
"Another 'Story' About George Eliot." Hamilton Spectator, 16 Jul. 1881, p. 2.
1881-07-16

Unknown
"Another French Critic of George Eliot." Pall Mall Gazette, 22 July 1885, p. 2.
1885-07-22

Unknown
"Another French Critic of George Eliot." Pall Mall Gazette, 22 Jul. 1885.
1885-07-22

Freeman, Edward A
Freeman, Edward A. "Anthony Trollope's People." Milwaukee Sentinel, 29 Jan. 1883, p. 3.
1883-01-29

Unknown
"Art and Literary Gossip." Manchester Times, 26 Mar. 1881.
1881-03-26

Unknown
"Art and Literary Gossip." Manchester Times, 24 Jan. 1885.
1885-01-24

Unknown
"Art and Literary Gossip." Manchester Times, 7 Feb. 1885.
1885-02-07

Unknown
"Art and Literary Gossip." York Herald, 8 Apr. 1882, p. 7.
1882-04-08

Unknown
"Art and Literature." Newcastle Courant, 7 Nov. 1884, p. 6.
1884-11-07

Unknown
"Art, Literature, and Society." Leeds Times, 1 Oct. 1887, p. 7.
1887-10-01

Unknown
"Art, Literature, and Society." Leed's Times, 1 Oct. 1887, p. 7.
1887-10-01

Unknown
"Art, Literature, Music &c." Royal Cornwall Gazette Falmouth Packet, Cornish Weekly News, & General Advertiser, 25 Feb 1881, p. 6.
1881-02-25

Unknown
"Art, Literature, Music, &c." Royal Cornwall Gazette, 25 Feb. 1881, p. 6.
1881-02-25

Unknown
"Art, Literature, Music, &c." Royal Cornwall Gazette, 14 Nov. 1879, p. 6.
1879-11-14

Unknown
"Art, Literature, Science, &C." Royal Cornwall Gazette, 27 Feb. 1880, p. 2.
1880-02-27

Hyatt, Alfred
Hyatt, Alfred. "Arts and Letters." London Middlesex Gazette, 12 Oct. 1901, p. 7.
1901-10-12

Unknown
"Authors Peculiarities." Bango Daily Whig & Courier, 15 Jun. 1898, p. 6.
1898-06-15

Unknown
"Biographical Sketch." Women's Herald, 30 Jan 1892, p. 3-4.
1892-01-30

Unknown
"Biography." Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser, 16 Sept. 1876.
1876-09-16

Unknown
"Biography." Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser, 22 Apr. 1876.
1876-04-22

Unknown
"Births, Deaths, Marriages and Obituaries." Derby Mercury, 29 Dec. 1880, p. 8.
1880-12-29

Unknown
"Births, Deaths, Marriages and Obituaries." Freeman's Journal, 24 Dec. 1880, p. 6.
1880-12-24

Unknown
"Births, Deaths, Marriages and Obituaries." Hull Packet, 31 Dec. 1880, p. 6.
1880-12-31

Unknown
"Births, Deaths, Marriages and Obituaries." Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 3 Mar. 1891, p. 5.
1891-03-03

Unknown
"Book's and Magazines." Devon and Exeter Gazette, 17 Sept. 1895, p. 3.
1895-09-17

Unknown
"Books and Authors." North American, 14 Mar. 1885.
1885-03-14

Unknown
"Books and their Writers." London News Of The Week, 12 Nov. 1898, p. 7.
1898-11-12

C. J.
C. J. "Books and their Writers." Sunday Times, 22 Jun. 1902, p. 2.
1902-06-22
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