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The Department of Manuscripts' George Eliot Holdings

Daniel Waley

Abstract

'MR. LEWES had set his mind on their going after our death to the British Museum', wrote George Ehot of the manuscripts of her works in a letter to William Blackwood.' In G. H. Lewes's lifetime the autograph manuscripts of her works had been inscribed and presented by her to Lewes, at least from Adam Bede, her first major novel (1859), onwards. On Lewes's death in 1878 these bound-up volumes containing the manuscripts sent to the printer came back into the possession of George Eliot, to pass after she died in 1880 to Lewes's eldest son Charles. Only after the death of Charles Lewes in 1891 did they reach the British Museum, no doubt on the initiative of Charles's widow Gertrude, who also presented to the Museum the autograph manuscript of Lewes's Aristotle.

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