George Meredith in 1893 by George Frederic Watts
|Born||12 February 1828|
Portsmouth, Hampshire, England
|Died||18 May 1909 81) (aged|
Box Hill, Surrey, England
|Literary movement||Victorian literature|
|Notable works||Modern Love|
|Spouses||Mary Ellen Peacock (1849–1861)|
Marie Vulliamy (1864–1886)
|Children||Arthur, William, and Mariette|
George Meredith OM (12 February 1828 – 18 May 1909) was an English novelist and poet of the Victorian era. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature seven times.
In the history of the United Kingdom, the Victorian era was the period of Queen Victoria's reign, from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. The era followed the Georgian period and preceded the Edwardian period, and its later half overlaps with the first part of the Belle Époque era of Continental Europe. In terms of moral sensibilities and political reforms, this period began with the passage of the Reform Act 1832. There was a strong religious drive for higher moral standards led by the nonconformist churches, such as the Methodist, and the Evangelical wing of the established Church of England. Britain's relations with the other Great Powers were driven by the colonial antagonism of the Great Game with Russia, climaxing during the Crimean War; a Pax Britannica of international free trade was maintained by the country's naval and industrial supremacy. Britain embarked on global imperial expansion, particularly in Asia and Africa, which made the British Empire the largest empire in history. National self-confidence peaked.
The Nobel Prize in Literature is a Swedish literature prize that is awarded annually, since 1901, to an author from any country who has, in the words of the will of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, produced "in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction". Though individual works are sometimes cited as being particularly noteworthy, the award is based on an author's body of work as a whole. The Swedish Academy decides who, if anyone, will receive the prize. The academy announces the name of the laureate in early October. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895. On some occasions the award has been postponed to the following year. It was not awarded in 2018, but two names will be awarded in 2019.
Meredith was born in Portsmouth, Hampshire, a son and grandson of naval outfitters.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. He collaborated with Edward Gryffydh Peacock, son of Thomas Love Peacock, in publishing a privately circulated literary magazine, the Monthly Observer. He married Edward Peacock's widowed sister Mary Ellen Nicolls in 1849 when he was twenty-one years old and she was twenty-eight.
Portsmouth is a port city in Hampshire, England, with a total population of 205,400 residents. The city of Portsmouth is nicknamed Pompey and is mainly built on Portsea Island, a flat, low-lying island measuring 24 square kilometres in area, just off the south-east coast of Hampshire. Uniquely, Portsmouth is the only island city in the United Kingdom, and is the only city whose population density exceeds that of London.
Hampshire is a county on the southern coast of England. The county town is the city of Winchester. Its two largest cities, Southampton and Portsmouth, are administered separately as unitary authorities; the rest of the county is governed by Hampshire County Council.
The Moravian Church, formally named the Unitas Fratrum, in German known as [Herrnhuter] Brüdergemeine, is one of the oldest Protestant denominations in the world, with its heritage dating back to the Bohemian Reformation in the 15th century and the Unity of the Brethren established in the Kingdom of Bohemia.
Meredith collected his early writings, first published in periodicals, in an 1851 volume, Poems. In 1856 he posed as the model for The Death of Chatterton , a notable painting by the English Pre-Raphaelite painter Henry Wallis (1830–1916).His wife ran off with Wallis in 1858; she died three years later. The collection of "sonnets" entitled Modern Love (1862) emerged from this experience as did The Ordeal of Richard Feverel , his first "major novel".
The Death of Chatterton is an oil painting on canvas, by the English Pre-Raphaelite painter Henry Wallis, now in Tate Britain, London. Two smaller versions, sketches or replicas, are held by the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and the Yale Center for British Art. The Tate painting measures 62.2 centimetres (24.5 in) by 93.3 centimetres (36.7 in), and was completed in 1856.
Henry Wallis was a British Pre-Raphaelite painter, writer and collector.
The Ordeal of Richard Feverel: A History of Father and Son (1859) is the earliest full-length novel by George Meredith; its subject is the inability of systems of education to control human passions. It is one of a select group of standard texts that have been included in all four of Everyman's Library (1935), the New American Library of World Literature (1961), Oxford World's Classics (1984), and Penguin Classics (1998). With its rigorous psychological analysis and criticism of contemporary attitudes to sexuality, it has been seen by some critics as the first modern novel in English literature.
Meredith married Marie Vulliamy in 1864 and settled in Surrey. He continued writing novels and poetry, often inspired by nature. He had a keen understanding of comedy and his Essay on Comedy (1877) remains a reference work in 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 subjugation of women during the Victorian period. During most of his career, he had difficulty achieving popular success. His first successful novel was Diana of the Crossways published in 1885.
Surrey is a county in South East England which borders Kent to the east, Sussex to the south, Hampshire to the west, Berkshire to the northwest, and Greater London to the northeast.
The Egoist is a tragicomical novel by George Meredith published in 1879.
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 Charles Swinburne, Cotter Morison,Leslie Stephen, Robert Louis Stevenson, George Gissing and J. M. Barrie.Gissing wrote in a letter to his brother Algernon that Meredith's novels were 'of the superlatively tough species'. 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 favourite novelist, saying "Ah, Meredith! Who can define him? His style is chaos illumined by flashes of lightning".
Gabriel Charles Dante Rossetti, generally known as Dante Gabriel Rossetti, was a British poet, illustrator, painter and translator, and a member of the Rossetti family. He founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848 with William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais. Rossetti was later to be the main inspiration for a second generation of artists and writers influenced by the movement, most notably William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones. His work also influenced the European Symbolists and was a major precursor of the Aesthetic movement.
Algernon Charles Swinburne was an English poet, playwright, novelist, and critic. He wrote several novels and collections of poetry such as Poems and Ballads, and contributed to the famous Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica.
Sir Leslie Stephen, was an English author, critic, historian, biographer, and mountaineer, and father of Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell.
In 1868 Meredith was introduced to Thomas Hardy by Frederic Chapman of Chapman & Hall the publishers. Hardy had submitted his first novel, The Poor Man and the Lady. Meredith advised Hardy not to publish his book as it would be attacked by reviewers and destroy his hopes of becoming a novelist. Meredith felt the book was too bitter a satire on the rich and counselled Hardy to put it aside and write another 'with a purely artistic purpose' and more of a plot. Meredith spoke from experience; his first big novel, The Ordeal of Richard Feverel, was judged so shocking that Mudie's circulating library had cancelled an order of 300 copies. Hardy continued in his attempts to publish the novel: however it remained unpublished, though he clearly took Meredith's advice seriously.
Thomas Hardy was an English novelist and poet. A Victorian realist in the tradition of George Eliot, he was influenced both in his novels and in his poetry by Romanticism, especially William Wordsworth. He was highly critical of much in Victorian society, especially on the declining status of rural people in Britain, such as those from his native South West England.
Frederic Chapman was a publisher of the Victorian era who became a partner in Chapman & Hall, who published the works of Charles Dickens and Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, among others.
Chapman & Hall is an imprint owned by CRC Press, originally founded as a British publishing house in London in the first half of the 19th century by Edward Chapman and William Hall. Chapman & Hall were publishers for Charles Dickens, William Thackeray, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Anthony Trollope, Eadweard Muybridge and Evelyn Waugh.
Meredith's politics were those of a Radical Liberal and he was friends with other Radicals such as Frederick Maxse and John Morley.Before his death, Meredith was honoured 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 his home in Box Hill, Surrey.He is buried in the cemetery at Dorking, Surrey.
Meredith had two wives and three children. He outlived both wives and one child.
On 9 August 1849, Meredith married Mary Ellen Nicolls (née Peacock), a beautiful widow with a daughter. They had one child, Arthur (1853–1890). In 1858 she ran off with the painter Henry Wallis, shortly before giving birth to a child assumed to be Wallis's. Mary Ellen died in 1861.
On 20 September 1864, Meredith married Marie Vulliamy. She died of cancer in 1886.
Meredith had three children:
with Mary Ellen
Lorna Doone: A Romance of Exmoor is a novel by English author Richard Doddridge Blackmore, published in 1869. It is a romance based on a group of historical characters and set in the late 17th century in Devon and Somerset, particularly around the East Lyn Valley area of Exmoor. In 2003, the novel was listed on the BBC's survey The Big Read.
George Robert Gissing was an English novelist who published 23 novels between 1880 and 1903. Gissing also worked as a teacher and tutor throughout his life. He published his first novel, Workers in the Dawn, in 1880. His best known novels, which are published in modern editions, include The Nether World (1889), New Grub Street (1891), and The Odd Women (1893).
Sir Walter Besant was a novelist and historian. William Henry Besant was his brother, and another brother, Frank, was the husband of Annie Besant.
The Hand of Ethelberta: A Comedy in Chapters is a novel by Thomas Hardy, published in 1876. It was written, in serial form, for the Cornhill Magazine, which was edited by Leslie Stephen, a friend and mentor of Hardy's. Unlike the majority of Hardy's fiction, the novel is a comedy, with both humour and a happy ending for the major characters and no suicides or tragic deaths. The late nineteenth century novelist George Gissing, who knew Hardy, considered it 'surely old Hardy's poorest book'.
Lucas Malet was the pseudonym of Mary St Leger Kingsley, a Victorian novelist. Of her novels, The Wages of Sin (1891) and The History of Sir Richard Calmady (1901) were especially popular. Malet scholar Talia Schaffer notes that she was "widely regarded as one of the premier writers of fiction in the English-speaking world" at the height of her career, but her reputation declined by the end of her life and today she is rarely read or studied. At the height of her popularity she was "compared favorably to Thomas Hardy, and Henry James, with sales rivaling Rudyard Kipling." Malet's fin de siecle novels offer "detailed, sensitive investigations of the psychology of masochism, perverse desires, unconventional gender roles, and the body."
Modern Love (1862) by George Meredith is a collection of 50 16-line sonnets about the failure of his first marriage. He reflects his own disillusionment after his wife Mary Ellen, the daughter of Thomas Love Peacock, left him for the painter Henry Wallis.
Edward Clodd was an English banker, writer and anthropologist. He had a great variety of literary and scientific friends, who periodically met at Whitsunday gatherings at his home at Aldeburgh in Suffolk.
Alfred Charles Gissing, was an English writer and headmaster, the son of George Gissing.
Morley Roberts was an English novelist and short story writer, best known for The Private Life of Henry Maitland.
There have been two baronetcies created for persons with the surname Earle, one in the Baronetage of England and one in the Baronetage of the United Kingdom. One creation is extant as of 2007.
George Hardy (1822–1909) was an English genre painter, a member of the Cranbrook Colony and eldest brother of the artist Frederick Daniel Hardy.
Edward Gryffydh Peacock was an English official of the East India Company, publisher, writer and rower who won the Wingfield Sculls and Diamond Challenge Sculls at Henley Royal Regatta.
Workers in the Dawn is a novel by George Gissing, which was originally published in three volumes in 1880. It was the first of Gissing's published novels, although he had been working on another prior to this. The work focuses on the unhappy marriage of Arthur Golding, a rising artist from a poor background, and Carrie Mitchell, a prostitute. This plot was partly based on Gissing's negative experiences of marriage to his first wife. It also was designed to serve the function of political polemic, highlighting social issues that Gissing felt strongly about. Reviews of the novel generally recognised some potential in the author, but were critical of Workers in the Dawn. After reading the first known published review in the Athenaeum, Gissing was driven to describe critics as "unprincipled vagabonds".
Algernon Fred Gissing was an English novelist and the younger brother of George Gissing. He wrote twenty-five novels, two collections of short stories and several pieces of travel writing. He died from heart disease.
The Unclassed is a novel by the English author George Gissing. It was written during 1883 but revised, at the publisher's insistence, in February 1884 and shortly before publication.
The Whirlpool is a novel by English author George Gissing, first published in 1897.
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