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Lewes, George Henry

WILLIAM BAKER


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George Henry Lewes, one of the foremost Victorian intellectuals, was a highly accomplished writer and editor in many areas – for instance the history of philosophy, physiology, and marine biology; the popularization of science; or literary and dramatic criticism. Born in London on April 18, 1817, he was the third and youngest illegitimate son of John Lee Lewes and the grandson of Charles Lee Lewes, the celebrated comic actor. Lewes's father deserted the family when George Henry Lewes was very young, and George and his brothers were brought up by a stepfather, John Gurens Willim, a former army officer whom Lewes intensely disliked. Lewes went to various schools in London, France, and Jersey, where he learned French and other languages. His wish to study medicine came to nothing. From 1854 until his death on November 30, 1878 he lived in partnership with the great writer George Eliot (Mary Ann/ Marian Evans). In his late teens, Lewes formed a friendship with the Romantic poet and literary and social critic Leigh Hunt. Lewes published his early articles on various literary and philosophical subjects in such venues as the Penny Cyclopaedia , issued by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. Lewes's subjects included Baruch Spinoza – the seventeenth-century pantheist philosopher and advocate of civil and religious freedoms – and P. B. Shelley – the English Romantic poet and ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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