John Bayley

The Florence Nightingale of Fiction

Selections from George Eliot's Letters

By

Yale University Press 585pp £25 order from our bookshop

In May 1860 George Eliot wrote to Major Blackwood, proprietor with his brother of the famous magazine, commenting on a review in The Times of The Mill on the Floss, just published. The reviewer, E S Dallas, the author of one of the best and currently most neglected Victorian books on critical theory, The Gay Science, praised the novel warmly but made disparaging comments on some of the characters in passing, which upset their creator. ‘So far as my own feeling and intention are concerned, no one class of person or form of character is held up to reprobation or to exclusive admiration. Tom is painted with as much love and pity as Maggie…’

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Seventy years on, the time we have left to gather such first-hand testimony is running out.' John Keay on the sig… ,
    • The author 'seethes with contemptuous indignation at the shiny junk that an unregulated construction industry dumps… ,
    • 'The physical courage he demonstrated as a young man [...] gave way to intellectual power; radical thought, gifted… ,
    • 'While Jane Austen didn’t perhaps achieve the full recognition that she deserved in her lifetime, even then she out… ,
    • 'All I have is a voice To undo the folded lie, The romantic lie in the brain Of the sensual man-in-the-street And t… ,
    • 'You are interested in a particular subject; basic research hardens this interest into an obsession, after which th… ,
    • 'Keynes predicted that future generations would enjoy such an improved standard of living that they might work just… ,