ELIOT, George (1819-1880). Novelist. Pseudonymn of Marian Evans.
Autograph Letter Signed to R[obert] R[alph] Noel, 2 pages 8vo (remains of blank leaf attached), 17 Blandford Square, 23 July 1862. Sending news of [George Henry] Lewes.
'Mr Lewes is out of town - driven away by the necessity of seeking some strengthening change under the weakening effects of a bilious attach. He will ... be much obliged to you for the prompt loan of Fechner's book which I will answer for his returning within the limits you indicate.'
Robert Noel, the elder brother of Edward Noel, is frequently mentioned in the eight volumes of The George Eliot Letters, ed. Gordon S. Haight, -1978. He is described by Ethel Colburn Mayne in The Life and Letters of Anne Isabella, Lady Noel Byron, London, Constable, 1929, p. 375, as 'cultivated, much-travelled, a noted phrenologist in that golden age of phrenology, and the friend of many well-known men and women'. Among his many acquaintances was Goethe's daughter Ottillie [Haight, qv.]. Although the present letter is not in The Letters and is apparently unpublished, Noel is mentioned in vol. VIII (p. 116) in a letter written by George Eliot from Weimar: 'Mr Robert Noel was our companion - and a very pleasant one - in the steam boat from London to Antwerp'.
Presumably the reference in the letter is to Gustav Fechner (1801-1887, German philosopher), and perhaps to his Ueber die Seelenfrage ('Concerning the Soul'), published in 1861.
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