ON GEORGE ELIOT
[From The Quarterly Review, October, 1860]
1. Scenes of Clerical Life [containing The Sad Fortunes of the Reverend Amos Barton; Mr. Gilfil’s Love Story; and Janet’s Repentance]. By GEORGE ELIOT. Second Edition. 2 vols. Edinburgh and London, 1859.
2. Adam Bede. By GEORGE ELIOT. Sixth Edition, 2 vols. 1859.
3. The Mill on the Floss. By GEORGE ELIOT. 3 vols. 1860.
We frequently hear the remark, that in the present day everything is tending to uniformity—that all minds are taught to think alike, that the days of novelty have departed. To us, however, it appears that the age abounds in new and abnormal modes of thought—we had almost said, forms of being. What could be so new and so unlikely as that the young and irreproachable maiden daughter of a clergyman should have produced so extraordinary a work as “Jane Eyre,”—a work of which we were compelled to express the opinion that the unknown and mysterious “Currer Bell” held “a heathenish doctrine of religion”; that the ignorance which the book displayed as to the proprieties of female dress was hardly compatible with the idea of its having been written by a woman; but that, if a woman at all, the writer must be “one who had, for some sufficient reason, long forfeited the society of her own sex.”