George Meredith

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Meredith, George,

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).

Meredith, George


Born Feb. 12, 1828, in Portsmouth; died May 18, 1909, at Box Hill, near London. English writer. Son of a tailor.

In Meredith’s first novel, The Ordeal of Richard Feverel (1859), the natural instincts of man come into conflict with the demands of society. All his later works, which developed in the mainstream of critical realism, were dominated by this conflict. Among his novels are Evan Harrington (1860), The Adventures of Harry Richmond (1870-71; Russian translation, 1870), Beauchamp’s Career (1874-75; Russian translation, 1876), The Egoist (1879; Russian translation, 1894), The Tragic Comedians (1880; Russian translation, 1912), and One of Our Conquerors (1891). The driving force in his novels is directed at the exposure of egotism and the hypocrisy of bourgeois England. At the end of his life Meredith devoted himself almost exclusively to poetry.


Works, vols. 1-34. London, 1896-1911.
Works. Memorial edition, vols. 1-27. New York, 1909-11.
Letters, vols. 1-3. London, 1970.
In Russian translation:
Egoist. Moscow, 1970.


Urnov, M. V. Na rubezhe vekov. Moscow, 1970.
Lindsay, J. G. Meredith, His Life and Work. London [1956].
Beach, J. W. The Comic Spirit in G. Meredith. New York, 1963.
Meredith Now: Some Critical Essays. London [1971].


References in periodicals archive ?
8) George Meredith, "On the Idea of Comedy, and of the Uses of the Comic Spirit," New Quarterly Magazine 8 (April 1877): 10.
All quotations from Meredith's poems are from The Poems of George Meredith, ed.
3) George Meredith to William Sharp, November 12, 1885, in Letters
Thackeray, George Meredith, George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, and Henry James, giving each work (15 in all) a close reading in terms of its reflection on and reworking of ideas in ethical behavior.
5) Meredith scholars may have since overlooked its significance because the Yale cataloguer described "The Three Maidens" as a "manuscript poem possibly by Mary Ellen Meredith," despite the fact that it was published by George Meredith in 1859 and included in a collected edition of his Works in 1898.
A spokesman said: "We can confirm that George Meredith, aged 12, died on the evening of August 25 following an accident in the Pyrenees near Aneto in northern Spain.
George Meredith, executive vice president, 3M Life Sciences Sector and Corporate Services; and Aulana L.
When, for example, George Meredith announces in his title that he will portray a specifically Modern Love, and then chooses a sonnet sequence to examine a failing marriage, he is quite overtly addressing contemporary gender relations, and just as overtly mobilizing the form of the sonnet to strengthen the bitter ironies of his social commentary.
Besides that aspect of George Meredith best represented by "The Woods of Westermain" and "Hard Weather," I am thinking of such figures as William Sharp, Norman Gale, Katherine Tynan, and of much of the Brontes' verse.
George Meredith is elected executive vice president, Life Sciences Sector and Corporate Services, effective Jan.
The Man Who Was Dorian Gray reads as if it were a combination of Marie Corelli and below-par George Meredith, with its alternations from sensation-fiction to psychologizing substance.