London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1864. Engraved frontispiece. Second English Edition "Partly Rewritten" Cloth. Royal 8vo (9" x 5 7/8"), original publishers brown cloth with gilt-lettered cordovan label on spine, plus rectilinear thriple gilt edge rules and bevelled covers; illustrated with engraved frontispiece portrait of Goethe; coated brown endpapers, viii + 340 pages. Weight: 2 lbs. 2 oz. Very Good / None. Item #7012
George Henry Lewes (1817-1878) was the common law husband of "George Eliot" (née Mary Ann Evans [1819-1880]), the great Victorian novelist and author of Middlemarch (1871-72). In said novel, the all encompassing researches by her character, Edward Casaubon, owe a good deal to the equally broad scientific absorptions of her husband.
Lewes wrote The Biographical History of Philosophy (1845-46); studies of Auguste Comte and "Positivism"; two novels; became literary editor of The Leader (1850), and subsequently editor of The Fortnightly Review (1865-66); and a major biography,The Life of Goethe (1855), which benefited from Lewes' extensive knowledge of German culture, literature and science.
Overall, Lewes was a formidable Liberal, Freethinking, Progressive, Positivist, Science-oriented philosopher, researcher, critic, and author who was well ahead of most of his contemporaries.
This is a solid and clean copy. No markings from previous owners. Hinges are slightly split but holding well. Pages have light uniform age-toning; light foxing to endpapers and tissue guard with some transfer from the engraving. The covers have some rubbing and bubbling to the front cover, light edge- and corner-wear. Overall, an appealing volume and superior biography of the great German.