Ch. 1, Pg. 4: I think the Merediths


George Meredith

George Meredith

Although largely uncelebrated today, George Meredith was a Victorian poet and novelist who rubbed elbows with Alfred Lord Tennyson, J. M. Barrie and Robert Louis Stevenson. He is mentioned in the works of Oscar Wilde (The Decay of Lying) and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (“The Boscombe Valley Mystery”). His most famous works include The Egoist, a humorous romantic novel, and The Shaving of Shagpat, a fantasy told in the style of the Arabian Nights. His style is highly complex, which may explain his decline in popularity today. (How true that is; see update 11/23/2008.)

George Meredith at the Literary Encyclopedia (preview; subscription required for full article)

Full text of The Egoist (Project Gutenberg)

Full text of The Shaving of Shagpat (Project Gutenberg)

Update 11/23/2008: Since writing this post, your blogger has attempted to read The Egoist and found it deadly, deadly boring and excessively wordy. (Remember, this is coming from a Dickens enthusiast.) It reminded me of the nonsense text generated by graphic design programs. However, Meredith’s poetry is quite different. There is beauty and painful emotional clarity in the excerpts from Modern Love published in The Norton Anthology of English Literature Vol. 2.


Published in: on November 16, 2008 at 7:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Page 4: B.A. of Queen’s College, Belfast

Queen's College, Belfast, by gerard172 on flickr  



Queen's College, Lanyon Building, Belfast


(Photo courtesy of gerard1972 on flickr, who takes gorgeous pictures of Belfast)

Lewis’s mother, Florence Augusta Hamilton, graduated with First Class Honors in logic and Second Class Honors in mathematics in 1885. In an age when women’s mental capacities were still denigrated, it’s a particularly impressive achievement. The first woman was admitted to Queen’s College in 1881, just four years earlier, so it does not seem a stretch to imagine that Florence Hamilton was a woman of unusual resources.

An image of Flora Hamilton at her graduation

Update 11/23/2008: I have been lucky enough to be in contact with James O’Fee, the former president of the C.S. Lewis Centenary Group in C.S. Lewis’s hometown, Belfast. Mr. O’Fee has written an extensive and well-researched response to my post for those who are interested in learning more about Lewis’s mother.


Published in: on November 2, 2008 at 8:42 pm  Leave a Comment  
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