When the Victorian
journalist and critic, George Henry Lewes invited George Eliot and
Charles Dickens to dinner in 1859, few imagined it would lead to one of the
greatest creative exchanges in literary history.
From the non-traditional
‘marriage’ of Eliot and Lewes, to the unconventional eye Lewes cast
over Dickens’ work, this book throws fresh light on the chief subject of their
critical interest by looking at the complex relationships between Dickens, Eliot
and Lewes. It contends that Lewes saw something in Dickens and Eliot that his
contemporaries could not grasp, and traces the birth of ‘psychological realism’
as a literary device in English literature.
The book is based on a lecture given as part of the Hilda
Hulme Memorial Lectures, established in 1985 following a donation from Mr
Mohamed Aslam in memory of his wife, Dr Hilda Hulme. The lectures are on the
subject of English literature and relate to one of ‘the three fields in which
Dr Hulme specialised, namely Shakespeare, language in Elizabethan drama, and
the nineteenth-century novel’.
This lecture by Professor Rosemary Ashton was originally published by
the Institute of English Studies, University of London in 1991.