George Meredith

George Meredith, 1828–1909, English novelist and poet. One of the great English novelists, Meredith wrote complex, often comic yet highly cerebral works that contain striking psychological character studies. As a youth he attended a Moravian school in Germany and eventually became apprenticed to a London lawyer. He began his career as a freelance journalist, contributing to newspapers and magazines in London. His first volume of poems appeared in 1851 and received the praises of Tennyson. In 1849 he married Mary Ellen Nicoll, the widowed daughter of Thomas Love Peacock; she left him in 1858. Modern Love (1862), a series of 50 connected poems, reflects his own experience in relating the tragic dissolution of a marriage. He married Marie Vulliamy, happily, in 1864 and settled in Surrey, the location that inspired many of his later nature poems. Although Meredith began and ended his literary career as a poet, he is best remembered as a novelist. His first distinguished work, The Ordeal of Richard Feverel, appeared in 1859. His other notable books include Evan Harrington (1860), The Adventures of Harry Richmond (1871), The Egoist (1879), and Diana of the Crossways (1885). His famous critical essay, On the Idea of Comedy and the Uses of the Comic Spirit (1897), was first delivered as a lecture in 1877. Meredith's novels and poems are written in a brilliant but oblique style. Highly intellectual, his novels often treat social problems. Prominent in all his works is his joyful belief in life as a process of evolution.

See various volumes of his letters; biography by L. Stevenson (1953, repr. 1967); studies by G. M. Trevelyan (1906, repr. 1966), S. Sassoon (1948, repr. 1969), J. B. Priestley (1926, repr. 1970), G. Beer (1970), R. Muendel (1986).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

George Meredith: Selected full-text books and articles

The Experimental Impulse in George Meredith's Fiction By Richard C. Stevenson Bucknell University Press, 2004
FREE! Evan Harrington By George Meredith Charles Scibner's Sons, 1910
PRIMARY SOURCE
A primary source is a work that is being studied, or that provides first-hand or direct evidence on a topic. Common types of primary sources include works of literature, historical documents, original philosophical writings, and religious texts.
FREE! A Reading of Life: With Other Poems By George Meredith Constable & Company, 1909
PRIMARY SOURCE
A primary source is a work that is being studied, or that provides first-hand or direct evidence on a topic. Common types of primary sources include works of literature, historical documents, original philosophical writings, and religious texts.
FREE! An Essay on Comedy: And the Uses of the Comic Spirit By George Meredith Charles Scribner's Sons, 1910
Navigating Liminal Spaces: A Rediscovery of Meredith's "The Day of the Daughter of Hades" By Rizzo, Therese Studies in the Humanities, Vol. 34, No. 1, June 2007
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
George Meredith's Early Verse: A New Manuscript in His First Wife's Hand By Joukovsky, Nicholas A Victorian Poetry, Vol. 45, No. 3, Fall 2007
The Life of George Meredith By Robert Esmonde Sencourt C. Scribner's Sons, 1929
Meredith By Siegfried Sassoon Viking Press, 1948
George Meredith By J. B. Priestley Macmillan & Co., 1926
Art and Substance in George Meredith: A Study in Narrative By Walter F. Wright University of Nebraska Press, 1953
A Companion to the Victorian Novel By William Baker; Kenneth Womack Greenwood Press, 2002
Librarian's tip: "George Meredith at the Crossways" begins on p. 341
The Letters of George Meredith to Alice Meynell: With Annotations Thereto, 1896-1907 By George Meredith; Alice Christiana Thompson Meynell Nonesuch Press, 1923
PRIMARY SOURCE
A primary source is a work that is being studied, or that provides first-hand or direct evidence on a topic. Common types of primary sources include works of literature, historical documents, original philosophical writings, and religious texts.
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