George Meredith as a poet and dramatic novelist
The scope and nature of this Thesis excludes at once the possibility of dealing exhaustively with so towering and complex a genius as George Meredith. He is so wholly sui generis that neglect of him involves neglect of nothing else, implies no deficiency of taste, no literary limitation. He cannot be placed. He has no derivation and no tendency; and yet he bridges the gap between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries as though the Victorian era had never been. It has, therefore, been natural to concentrate attention of the man's work itself rather than on its relation to that of contemporary or succeeding craftsmen. Considerations of space have made it necessary to isolate certain of his essential conceptions and salient characteristics. These have been considered analytically. While not claiming real novelty for many of the views set forward, there is a considerable degree, especially in the last two chapters. Needless to say, the portions of Meredith about which the critics are agreed, are much more important than anything "new" that can be said about him. For this reason the aim has been to go to the man's work so far as it was compatible with a moderate array of authority. Originality has been sought by going to origins rather than in eccentricity of opinion.
Meredith, George, 1828-1909