© 1996

Selected Letters of Leslie Stephen

Volume 1: 1864-1882

  • Editors
  • John W. Bicknell

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxi
  2. Introduction 1832–64

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-5
    2. John W. Bicknell
      Pages 6-10
    3. John W. Bicknell
      Pages 11-19
  3. Cambridge to Cornhill 1865–70

    1. John W. Bicknell
      Pages 21-89
  4. Cornhill to DNB 1871–82

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 91-91
    2. John W. Bicknell
      Pages 93-161
    3. John W. Bicknell
      Pages 162-189
    4. John W. Bicknell
      Pages 190-260
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 261-284

About this book


Since F.W. Maitland's Life and Letters of Leslie Stephen (1907), there has been no volume of the letters written by this extraordinary and eminent Victorian. Alpinist, literary critic, god-killer, editor of The Cornhill Magazine and The Dictionary of National Biography, biographer, historian of ideas, and father of Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf, Stephen corresponded with a host of men and women, including such notables as his American friends - James Russell Lowell, Justice Holmes and art historian Charles E. Norton; such contemporaries among the intelligentsia as John Morley, Henry Sidgwick, George Eliot, Robert Louis Stevenson, F.W. Maitland, and Thomas Hardy; and the members of his family - Minny, his first wife; his sister-in-law, Anny Ritchie; his son Thoby; and his best beloved second wife, Julia. In his letters, always readable, we find his enthusiasms, his ironic humour, his self-doubt and self-pity, his anguish over his retarded child Laura, his candour, his lively portraits of people and places, his delight in the young - Nessa, Ginia and Thoby, and his direct and easy style as he responds to his reader's interests and needs. This second volume follws the demanding years Stephen spent as Editor of The Dictionary of National Biography, his happy life with Julia until her death in 1895 and his continuing devotion to literature, a source of much solace in his last years.


George Eliot Thomas Hardy Victorian era

Bibliographic information


'Professor Bicknell has done a remarkable job in presenting Stephen's letters.' - Sonya Rudikoff, American Scholar

'Overall, the Selected Letters of Leslie Stephen is a well-illustrated, valuable collection and should help inspire interest in the man whom Gillian Fenwick ranks as perhaps second only to Matthew Arnold as a Victorian man of letters.' - Barbara Quinn Schmidt, Victorian Periodicals Review

'John Bicknell's two volume edition of Selected Letters of Leslie Stephen is indispensable for all scholars interested in Virginia Woolf's life and works. Additionally, the volumes will prove essential for scholars of Victorian Studies, the history of ideas, and for cultural historians.' Jane Lilienfeld, Woolf Studies Annual

'This publication about the eminent Victorian literary critic, editor of the Cornhill Magazine and the Dictionary of National Biography, Alpinist, god-killer and father of Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woof, is a glorious job.' - Michael D. Langan, Buffalo News