Meredith was an English novelist and poet.
was born in Portsmouth, England, a son and grandson of naval outfitters.
His mother died when he was five. At the age of 14 he was sent
to a Moravian School in Neuwied, Germany where he remained for
two years. He read law and was articled as a solicitor, but abandoned
that profession for journalism and poetry shortly after marrying
Mary Ellen Nicolls, a widowed daughter of Thomas Love Peacock
in 1849. He was twenty-one years old; she was thirty.
collected his early writings, first published in periodicals,
into Poems, which was published to some acclaim in 1851. His wife
left him and their five-year old son in 1858; she died three years
later. Her departure was the inspiration for The Ordeal of Richard
Feverel, his first "major novel".
married Marie Vulliamy in 1864 and settled in Surrey. He continued
writing novels, and later in life he returned to writing poetry,
often inspired by nature. Oscar Wilde, in his dialogue The Decay
Of Lying, implies that Meredith, along with Balzac, is his favourite
novelist, saying "ah, Meredith! Who can define him? His style
is chaos illumined by flashes of lightning."
an advisor to publishers, Meredith is credited with helping Thomas
Hardy start his literary career. Before his death, Meredith was
honored from many corners: he succeeded Lord Tennyson as president
of the Society of Authors; in 1905 he was appointed to the Order
of Merit by King Edward VII.
1909 he died at home in Box Hill, Dorking.