Date of this Version
The George Eliot Review 22 (1991)
In 1963 Thomas Pinney published his edition of The Essays of George Eliot, a meticulous, scholarly and conservative selection. It was a major contribution to George Eliot studies, coming as it did in the wake of her rediscovery, more properly re-evaluation, through F.R. Leavis, Joan Bennett, Barbara Hardy, W.J. Harvey and others. Gordon Haight had discovered her for himself in the 1930' s, and devoted the rest of his life to editing her letters, writing her biography, encouraging scholars and critics and initiating the Clarendon edition of her works. Pinney is in the immediate Haight tradition, clear, concise, admirably relevant: his introduction to the Essays is masterly, direct, consummately informed. It is no discredit to him to observe that this Penguin Classics selection does more than he did, for the editors have extended his brief, as will be apparent from the title.