Two Georges and Two Germanies: Gissing and Meredith Commence Debate

  • Richard Scully
Part of the Britain and the World book series (BAW)


George Meredith (1828–1909) was the first author since the Chesney period to again examine in any depth the subject of the political and military aspects of Britain’s relationship with Germany. In his youth Meredith him-self spent almost two years in Germany and received a German education at the Moravian School at Neuwied on the Rhine. While there, he gained an abiding appreciation for German literature, including the ‘fanciful fairy-lands of German Romanticism’ and in later life often referred to his time there as one of the key formative influences of his life.’ Steeped in notions of German intellectual brilliance, Meredith’s sympathies for the Prusso-German cause in the war with France were weakened by the siege of Paris, and one biographer has gone so far as to assert that the conflict ‘tore him apart’ emotionally (his wife was French).2 Though he was moved to ponder poetically the seeming transformation of ‘her that sunlike stood’ into one who proceeded only with ‘iron heel’, and also referred to the ‘marching and drilling’ of the great European powers, in Beauchamp’ s Career (1876), it was not until the 1890s that Meredith truly began to question again the nature of Britain’s relationship with the country of his own Bildung.3


National Service Daily Mail British Author Potential Enemy German Education 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    D. Williams, George Meredith: His Life and Lost Love, London: Hamish Hamilton, 1977, p. 13; L. Stevenson, The Ordeal of George Meredith: A Biography, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1953, p. 13; J. B. Priestley, George Meredith, London: Macmillan & Co., 1926, p. 10; M. Doerfel, ‘British Pupils in a German Boarding School: Neuwied/Rhine 1820–1913’, in British Journal of Educational Studies, Volume XXXIV, Number 1, February 1986, p. 95 (note 1).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    M. Jones, The Amazing Victorian: A Life of George Meredith, London: Constable, 1999, p. 197.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    G. Meredith, One of Our Conquerors, Volume III, London: Chapman & Hall, 1891, p. 11.Google Scholar
  4. 11.
    H. G. Wells, The Time Machine, London: William Heinemann, 1895, p. 8.Google Scholar
  5. 19.
    G. Gissing, The New Grub Street, Second edn, Volume I, London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1891, p. 38.Google Scholar
  6. 21.
    Meredith to G. Gissing, 17 September 1897, in G. Meredith, The Letters of George Meredith, C. L. Cline (ed.), Volume III, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1970, p. 1278.Google Scholar
  7. 25.
    W. Morris, News from Nowhere: Or, An Epoch of Rest, Being Some Chapters from a Utopian Romance, 1891, pp. 31–2; O. Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, London: Ward Lock & Co., 1891, p. 198.Google Scholar
  8. 26.
    B. Stoker, Dracula, Westminster: Archibald Constable and Company, 1897, pp. 1, 4, 11; R. L. Stevenson, ‘The Beach of Falsea’, in Island Nights’ Entertainments, London: Cassell & Company Limited, 1893, p. 41.Google Scholar
  9. 27.
    G. Gissing, The Odd Women, Volume II, London: Lawrence & Bullen, 1893, pp. 182–6;Google Scholar
  10. G. Gissing, The Whirlpool, London: Lawrence & Bullen, 1897, pp. 66–79;Google Scholar
  11. R. Aindow, ‘A Suitable Wardrobe: The Lone Female Traveller in Late Nineteenth-Century Fiction’, in eSharp, Issue 4 (Journeys of Discovery), Spring 2005, pp. 1–16, at, accessed, 14 August, 2006; Baedeker, Southern Germany, 1914, p. 96.Google Scholar
  12. 28.
    P. Bridgewater, Gissing and Germany, London: Enitharmon Press, 1981, pp. 85–6.Google Scholar
  13. 29.
    Gissing to H. G. Wells, 2 January 1899, in G. Gissing, The Collected Letters of George Gissing, P. F. Mattheisen, A. C. Young & P. Coustillas (eds), Volume VII, Athens: Ohio University Press, 1997, p. 260.Google Scholar
  14. 30.
    G. Gissing, The Crown of Life, London: Methuen, 1899, p. 180.Google Scholar
  15. 45.
    E. Childers, The Riddle of the Sands, London: Nelson, 1910, p. vi.Google Scholar
  16. 47.
    Childers, Riddle, 1999, pp. 11–12.Google Scholar
  17. 48.
    Childers, Riddle, 1999, p. 12.Google Scholar
  18. 49.
    Childers, Riddle, 1999, p. 284.Google Scholar
  19. 51.
    Childers, Riddle, 1999, p. 51.Google Scholar
  20. 52.
    Childers, Riddle, 1999, p. 97.Google Scholar
  21. 53.
    Childers, Riddle, 1999, pp. 97–8.Google Scholar
  22. 54.
    Childers, Riddle, 1999, p. 256.Google Scholar
  23. 55.
    Childers, Riddle, 1999, p. 267; ‘The German Manoeuvres, 1896’, in The Times, 14 October 1896, p. 6; ‘The German Army Manoeuvres’, in The Times, 12 October 1911, p. 4.Google Scholar
  24. 57.
    Childers, Riddle, 1999, p. 97.Google Scholar
  25. 58.
    Childers, Riddle, 1999, p. 276.Google Scholar
  26. 59.
    Childers, Riddle, 1999, p. 276.Google Scholar
  27. 60.
    Childers, Riddle, 1999, p. 276; Clarke, Voices Prophesying War, pp. 79, 108–16; Clarke (ed.), The Great War with Germany, p. 2; Hale, Publicity and Diplomacy, p. 253.Google Scholar
  28. 66.
    Childers, Riddle, 1999, p. 277.Google Scholar
  29. 71.
    W. Le Queux, The Invasion of 1910, London: Macmillan & Co., 1906, p. 133.Google Scholar
  30. 78.
    Childers, Riddle, 1999, pp. 80–1.Google Scholar
  31. 86.
    Panayi, The Enemy in Our Midst, p. 27; Also: B. Gainer, The Alien Invasion: The Origins of the Aliens Act of 1905, London: Heinemann, 1972, p. 204.Google Scholar
  32. 90.
    Clarke (ed.), The Great War with Germany, pp. 102–8; D. A. T. Stafford, ‘Spies and Gentlemen: The Birth of the British Spy Novel, 1893–1914’, in Victorian Studies, Volume 24, Number 4, Summer 1981, pp. 489–509.Google Scholar
  33. 94.
    W. Le Queux, Her Majesty’s Minister, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1901, p. 7; Stafford, ‘Spies and Gentlemen’, pp. 496–7; Panek, The Special Branch, pp. 7–10.Google Scholar
  34. 95.
    W. Le Queux, Spies of the Kaiser, London: Frank Cass, [1909] 1996, p. xxx.Google Scholar
  35. 97.
    Stafford, ‘Spies and Gentlemen’, p. 491; W. Le Queux, Revelations of the Secret Service, London: F. V. White & Co., 1911, p. 2.Google Scholar
  36. 98.
    This despite the reality of the increasing influence of the SPD, and the limited involvement of the industrial proletariat in the institution of the army (only 6% of recruits came from urban areas in 1911), see D. Blackbourn, History of Germany, 1780–1918: The Long Nineteenth Century, Second Edition, Malden: Blackwell, 2003, pp. 286–8, 313–21.Google Scholar
  37. 99.
    W. Le Queux, The Great War in England in 1897, London: Tower Publishing, 1894, pp. 44–5.Google Scholar
  38. 103.
    J. Hegglund, ‘Defending the Realm: Domestic Space and Mass Cultural Contamination in Howards End and An Englishman’s Home’, in English Literature in Transition: 1880–1920, Vol. 40, No. 4, 1997, p. 414.Google Scholar
  39. 104.
    J. McMillan, The Way We Were, 1900–1914, London: Kimber, 1978, pp. 294–6; D. Mackail, The Story of J. M. B., London: Davies, 1941, p.408; Waller, Writers, Readers and Reputations, pp. 899–901. See Figures 3.1 and 3.2.Google Scholar
  40. 105.
    Hegglund, ‘Defending the Realm’, p. 417; ‘A Patriot’ [G. du Maurier], An Englishman’s Home, London: Edward Arnold, 1909, pp. vii–viii.Google Scholar
  41. 112.
    P. G. Wodehouse, ‘The Swoop! Or, How Clarence Saved England’, in The Swoop! and other Stories, D. A. Jasen (ed.), New York: Continuum, 1979, p. 6.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Richard Scully 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Scully
    • 1
  1. 1.University of New EnglandAustralia

Personalised recommendations