THE ORDEAL OF GEORGE MEREDITH by Lionel Stevenson

THE ORDEAL OF GEORGE MEREDITH

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In 1926, in his excellent life of Meredith, J. B. Priestley wrote of the need of a psychological study of Meredith, which the purposes of his book excluded. Since then there have been several biographies, most recently Siegfried Sassoon's in 1948, and in spite of the promise of the title here, none of themhave made the man the focus of their studies. Stevenson's book, while not particularly vivacious, is satisfactory as a biography and as a resume and critique of Meredith's writing. A defect here is that all the material is presented with such chronological precision that the continuity of subject and interest is often sacrificed in the process. Much interrelation between autobiographical material and the scenes, episodes and character of the novels and poems run through the entire book. There are also discussions of both the objective and subjective elements of these parallelisms. But it is as far as Stevenson goes towards psychological interpretation, and when- towards the end-Stevenson speaks of ""the new ordeal of being old and crippled""- one realizes that the other ""ordeal"" of the title has never been explored..... The publication of this book is possibly prompted by the belief that the James revival must sooner or later be followed by a renewal of interest in Meredith but perhaps the spark is yet to come. As it stands, this is largely for students and devotees.

Publisher: Scribner