George Eliot: A Critical Study of her Life, Writings and Philosophy by George Willis Cooke
American Unitarian minister George Willis Cooke (1848-1923) worked for almost thirty years in Unitarian churches across the United States before turning full-time to scholarly pursuits in 1900. Cooke, a voracious reader who was largely self-taught, attended Meadville Theological School in Illinois but never graduated. A radical in theology and politics, he was drawn to the transcendentalist authors and in 1881 published a critical study of the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Cooke's George Eliot: A Critical Study of her Life, Writings and Philosophy (1883) probably emerged from those same philosophical impulses. The book was published just after Blind's biography, but Cooke asserts that with a small exception his work was complete when hers appeared; moreover, his study prioritises the act of 'interpreting and criticising [Eliot's] teachings' over the details of her life, and the book's organisation reflects this hierarchy, giving insights into the contemporary reception of George Eliot.