Famous Reviews eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 678 pages of information about Famous Reviews.
a woman, we are strongly inclined to affirm.  Without entering into the question whether the power of the writing be above her, or the vulgarity below her, there are, we believe, minutiae of circumstantial evidence which at once acquit the feminine hand.  No woman—­a lady friend, whom we are always happy to consult, assures us—­makes mistakes in her own metier—­ no woman trusses game and garnishes dessert-dishes with the same hands, or talks of so doing in the same breath.  Above all, no woman attires another in such fancy dresses as Jane’s ladies assume—­Miss Ingram coming down, irresistible, “in a morning robe of sky-blue crape, a gauze azure scarf twisted in her hair!!” No lady, we understand, when suddenly roused in the night, would think of hurrying on “a frock.”  They have garments more convenient for such occasions, and more becoming too.  This evidence seems incontrovertible.  Even granting that these incongruities were purposely assumed, for the sake of disguising the female pen, there is nothing gained; for if we ascribe the book to a woman at all, we have no alternative but to ascribe it to one who has, for some sufficient reason, long forfeited the society of her own sex.


[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.”

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