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.

Hamilton, C. J.
Hamilton, C. J. "George Eliot (Mary Anne Cross)." Women Writers: Their Works and Ways, vol 2, London, Ward, Lock, Bowden & Co, 1892, pp. 216-253.
1892

F. D. U.
"'George Eliot' and Wirksworth." Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 23 May 1904, p. 7.
1904-05-23

Unknown
"'George Eliot's' Early Years." Leeds Mercury, 1 Jan. 1881, p. 5.
1881-01-01

Unknown
"'George Eliot' and George Henry Lewes at the Scilly Inland." Cornishman, 9 Apr. 1885, p. 3.
1885-04-09

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

Sharp, William
Sharp, William. "The Country of George Eliot." Literary Geography. London, Pall Mall Publications, 1904, p. 74-86.
1904

Unknown
"'The Prophet of the Great Smoky Mountains.'" Pall Mall Gazette, 14 Oct. 1885, p. 4.
1885-10-14

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

Backus, Truman Jay and Helen Dawes Brown
Backus, Truman Jay, and Helen Dawes Brown. The Great English Writers From Chaucer to George Eliot: With Selections Illustrating Their Work. New York, 1889.
1889

Unknown
"$20,000 for Norton." News and Observer, 4 Apr. 1897.
1897-04-04

Unknown
"A Correspondent Writes." Dundee Courier & Argus, 10 Jul. 1880.
1880-07-10

Unknown
"A Correspondent Writes." Women's Penny Paper, 21 Sept. 1889, p. 11.
1889-09-21

Unknown
"A Country Vicar and His Friend Mr. 'Eliot.'" York Herald, 21 Dec. 1888, p. 3.
1888-12-21

Unknown
"A Country Vicar and his Friend Mr. 'Eliot.'" York Herald, 21 Dec. 1888, p. 3.
1888-12-21

Unknown
"A County Vicar and His Friend Mr. 'Eliot.'" York Herald, 22 Dec. 1888, p. 5.
1888-12-22

Unknown
"A Criticism of George Eliot." Milwaukee Sentinel, 25 May 1885, p. 4.
1885-05-25

Unknown
"A Distinction." Morning Oregonian, 22 Jun. 1887, p. 2.
1887-06-22

Unknown
"A Dog's Patience." Bangor Daily Whig & Courier, 4 Sept. 1896.
1896-09-04

Unknown
"A George Eliot Case." Galveston Daily News, 24 Mar. 1890, p. 8.
1890-03-24

Unknown
"A George Eliot Memorial." Tamworth Herald, 8 Jun. 1907, p. 2.
1907-06-08

Timmins, Sam
Timmins, Sam. A History of Warwickshire. London, E. Stock, 1889.
1889

Filomena
Filomeno. "A Lady's Letter on Current Topics." Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle, 1 Dec. 1883, p. 11.
1883-12-01

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

Unknown
"A Link with George Eliot." Tamworth Herald, 8 Sept. 1923, p. 6.
1923-09-08

Unknown
"A Link with George Eliot." Tamworth Herald, 8 Sept. 1923, p. 6.
1923-09-08

Tozer, F. Eustace
Tozer, F. Eustace. "A Literary Study." Leeds Mercury, 2 Jun. 1888.
1888-06-02

Tozer, F. Eustace
Tozer, F. Eustace. "A Literary Study: George Eliot." Leeds Mercury, 2 June 1888, p. 1.
1888-06-02

Unknown
"A Memorial Library." Daily Inter Ocean, 11 Apr. 1896, p. 11.
1896-04-11

Logan, Olive
Logan, Olive. "A Near View of George Eliot." Daily Inter Ocean, 13 Oct. 1879, p. 7.
1879-10-13

Unknown
"A New Edition." Illustrated London News, 19 Dec. 1885, p. 649.
1885-12-19

Unknown
"A New Midland Industry." Tamworth Herald, 18 May 1907, p. 7.
1907-05-18

Unknown
"A Niece of 'George Eliot.'" Tamworth Herald, 11 Sept. 1920, p. 3.
1920-09-11

Unknown
"A Niece of 'George Eliot.'" Tamworth Herald, 11 Sept. 1920, p. 3.
1920-09-11

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

Unknown
"A Platonic Marriage." Milwaukee Daily Sentinel, 2 Jan. 1879.
1879-01-02

Unknown
"A Platonic Marriage." Daily Globe, 4 Jan. 1879.
1879-01-04

Unknown
"A Question of Affinities." Daily Inter Ocean, 22 May 1880, p. 9.
1880-05-22

Unknown
"A Reader's Gleanings." London Middlesex Gazette, 25 Mar. 1893, p. 8.
1893-03-25

Clifford, Lucy
Clifford, Lucy. “A Remembrance of George Eliot.” Nineteenth Century, 74, July 1913, pp. 109-118.
1913-07 (July)

Unknown
"A Reminiscence of George Eliot." Pall Mall Gazette, 23 Jan 1885.
1885-01-23

Unknown
"A Reviving Fame." Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 12 Jun. 1901, p. 4.
1901-06-12

Unknown
"A Sketch of George Eliot." Portsmouth Evening News, 8 Aug. 1878, p. 2.
1878-08-08

Unknown
"A Sketch of George Eliot." Daily Gazette For Middlesbrough, 12 Aug. 1878, p. 3.
1878-08-12

Unknown
"A Sketch of George Eliot." Evening News, 8 Aug. 1878, p. 2.
1878-08-08

K. G.
K. G. "A Sonnet: In Remembrance." Temple Bar, 1 Jan. 1883, p. 123.
1883-01-01

Unknown
"A Study of George Eliot." St. Louis Gobe-Democrat, 18 Nov. 1883, p. 4.
1883-11-18

Unknown
"A Study of George Eliot." Boston Daily Advertiser, 20 Nov. 1885, p. 5.
1885-11-20

Meyers, F. W. H.
Meyers, F. W. H. "A Talk with George Eliot." Geelong Advertiser, 26 May 1923, p. 12.
1923-05-26

Buchanan, Robert
Buchanan, Robert. "A Talk With George Eliot." A Look Around Literature, London: Ward & Downey, 1887, pp. 218-228.
1887-ND-ND

Buchanan, Robert
Buchanan, Robert. A Talk With George Eliot & George Eliot's Life, A Look Round Literature. London Ward and Downey 1887, Pgs. 218-226/314-321.
1887