By F. B. Pinion
This severe survey of George Eliot's works incorporates a biographical advent and a short account of the ancient occasions that performed an element in her fiction. a variety of quotations from her letters make sure that the main beneficial features of Eliot's inspiration are correctly conveyed. An appendix dwells on Eliot's impact on Thomas Hardy.
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Extra resources for A George Eliot Companion: Literary Achievement and Modern Significance
53) she writes: 'People are very good to me. ' Lewes had been introduced to her by Spencer in 1851. Though unprepossessing in appearance (she described him as 'a sort of miniature Mirabeau'), he could be most attractive; he was lively, gesticulative, anecdotal, an excellent mimic, and good company. His versatility was amazing; he had been on the stage, had written a tragedy, two novels, a life of Robespierre, and a popular history of philosophy in four volumes; he was working on Comte, and was to show wider interests, particularly in science and psychology.
Tall, handsome, and attractive, John Chapman lived with his wife and three children on the first floor above his business premises; Elizabeth Tilley, governess and general assistant in the home, was his mistress. They let rooms to guests, and Mary Ann's was a comfortable one at the end of a long passage; she hired a piano, and the amorous young publisher came to hear her play Mozart, then to learn German or Latin. With little reviewing in prospect, she began an analytical catalogue of his publications; she attended lectures, theatres, concerts, an exhibition of Turner water-colours, and Lucia di Lammermoor.
George Smith, who had not done well with Romola, and attributed the decline in the sales of The Cornhill to its inclusion, decided not to publish Felix Holt when Lewes informed him that George Eliot expected £5,000 for the copyright. Within two days of receiving the manuscript of the first two volumes, Blackwood offered the same sum for a five-year contract. A week later, at the end of May, the novel was finished. Frederic Harrison, who had already read it three or four times, read it again on its publication, and asked whether the poetry which suffused it was wasted, suggesting that no writer was more artistically endowed than George Eliot to impart Comtian idealism to imaginative pictures of life.