George Meredith

George Meredith

Infobox Writer
name = George Meredith

imagesize = 200px
caption = George Meredith in 1893 by George Frederic Watts.
birthdate = birth date|1828|2|12|mf=y
birthplace = Portsmouth, England
deathdate = death date and age|1909|5|18|1828|2|12|mf=y
deathplace = Box Hill, Surrey, England
occupation =
nationality = flagcountry|England
period =
genre =
subject =
movement =
influences =
influenced =

George Meredith, OM (February 12, 1828 – May 18, 1909) was an English novelist and poet during the Victorian era.


Meredith was born in Portsmouth, England, a son and grandson of naval outfitters.cite book|first=George|last=Meredith|title=The Egoist|publisher=The New American Library of World Literature (Signet Classics)|year=1963|pages=Introduction (first page)] His mother died when he was five. At the age of 14 he was sent to a Moravian School in Neuwied, Germany, where he remained for two years. He read law and was articled as a solicitor, but abandoned that profession for journalism and poetry shortly after marrying Mary Ellen Nicolls, a widowed daughter of Thomas Love Peacock, in 1849. He was twenty-one years old; she was thirty.

He collected his early writings, first published in periodicals, into "Poems", published to some acclaim in 1851. His wife ran off with the English Pre-Raphaelite Painter Henry Wallis [1830-1916] in 1858; she died three years later. The collection of "sonnets" entitled "Modern Love" (1862) came of this experience as did "The Ordeal of Richard Feverel", his first "major novel".

He married Marie Vulliamy in 1864 and settled in Surrey. He continued writing novels, and poetry, often inspired by nature. His writing was characterized by a fascination with imagery and indirect references. He had a keen understanding of comedy and his "Essay on Comedy"(1877) is still quoted in most discussions of the history of comic theory. In The Egoist, published in 1879, he applies some of his theories of comedy in one of his most enduring novels. Some of his writings, including The Egoist, also highlight the subjection of women during the Victorian period. During most of his career, he had difficulty achieving popular success. His first truly successful novel was "Diana of the Crossways" published in 1885. Fact|date=June 2008

Meredith supplemented his often uncertain writer's income with a job as a publisher's reader. His advice to Chapman and Hall made him influential in the world of letters. His friends in the literary world included, at different times, William and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Algernon Swinburne,Leslie Stephen, Robert Louis Stevenson, George Gissing and J. M. Barrie. His contemporary Sir Arthur Conan Doyle paid him homage in the short-story "The Boscombe Valley Mystery", when Sherlock Holmes says to Dr. Watson during the discussion of the case, "And now let us talk about George Meredith, if you please, and we shall leave all minor matters until to-morrow." Oscar Wilde, in his dialogue The Decay Of Lying, implies that Meredith, along with Balzac, is his favorite novelist, saying "Ah, Meredith! Who can define him? His style is chaos illumined by flashes of lightning".

Before his death, Meredith was honored from many quarters: he succeeded Lord Tennyson as president of the Society of Authors; in 1905 he was appointed to the Order of Merit by King Edward VII.

In 1909 he died at home in Box Hill, Surrey.



*"Essay on Comedy" (1877)


*"The Shaving of Shagpat" (1856)
*"Farina" (1857)
*"The Ordeal of Richard Feverel" (1859)
*"Evan Harrington" (1861)
*"Emilia in England" (1864), republished as "Sandra Belloni" in 1887
*"Rhoda Fleming" (1865)
*"Vittoria" (1867)
*"The Adventures of Harry Richmond" (1871)
*"Beauchamp's Career" (1875)
*"The House on the Beach" (1877)
*"The Case of General Ople and Lady Camper" (1877)
*"The Tale of Chloe" (1879)
*"The Egoist" (1879)
*"The Tragic Comedians" (1880)
*"Diana of the Crossways" (1885)
*"One of our Conquerors" (1891)
*"Lord Ormont and his Aminta" (1894)
*"The Amazing Marriage" (1895)
*"Celt and Saxon" (1910)


*"Poems" (1851)
*"Modern Love" (1862)
*"Poems and Lyrics of the Joy of Earth" (1883)
*"The Woods of Westermain" (1883)
*"A Faith on Trial" (1885)
*"Ballads and Poems of Tragic Life" (1887)
*"A Reading of Earth" (1888)
*"The Empty Purse" (1892)
*"Odes in Contribution to the Song of French History"(1898)
*"A Reading of Life" (1901)
*"Last Poems" (1909)


External links

*gutenberg author|id=George_Meredith|name=George Meredith
* [ J. M. Barrie and George Meredith] Article by Robert Greenham about J. M. Barrie's friendship with George Meredith.

NAME=Meredith, George
DATE OF BIRTH=February 12, 1828
PLACE OF BIRTH=Portsmouth, England
DATE OF DEATH=May 18, 1909
PLACE OF DEATH=Box Hill, Surrey, England

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