Lewes, George Henry

Lewes, George Henry lo͞oˈĭs [key], 1817–78, English critic and author. As editor of the Leader (1850–54) and of the Fortnightly Review (1865–66), Lewes distinguished himself as a critic. Influenced by Comte's positivism, he wrote Biographical History of Philosophy (4 vol., 1845–46), Comte's Philosophy of the Sciences (1853), The Physiology of Common Life (2 vol., 1859–60), and Problems of Life and Mind (5 vol., 1874–79). Lewes's plays and novels are forgotten but his most noted work, the Life of Goethe (1855), had a tremendous success. Few men in English literature have produced as much excellent material in such diverse areas. Having been separated from his wife some years earlier, in 1854 he began living with George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans), whose work he encouraged and influenced profoundly.

See A. T. Kitchel, George Lewes and George Eliot (1933); H. G. Tjoa, George Henry Lewes: A Victorian Mind (1977).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: English Literature, 19th cent.: Biographies