George Meredith was born in 1828, the son of a Portsmouth tailor. He was educated in local schools and later at the Moravian School at Neuwied near Coblenz. In 1844 he was articled to a solicitor but turned instead to writing, publishing Poems in 1851 and his first work of fiction, The Shaving of Shagpat, in 1856. In 1849 he had married Mary Ellen Nicolls, Thomas Love Peacock’s widowed daughter. After a few years the marriage foundered and, having left Meredith, Mary Ellen died in 1861. In 1864 he married Marie Vulliamy. From his first introduction to the literary world, Meredith became a hard-working man of letters, acting for many years as reader for Chapman Hall, and devoting much time to journalism. This, however, did not interrupt the flow of his novels. The best known were The Ordeal of Richard Feverel (1859), Evan Harrington or He Would be a Gentleman (1861), Emilia in England (1864), later re-published as Sandra Belloni (1886), Rhoda Fleming (1865), The Adventures of Harry Richmond (1871), Beauchamp’s Career (1876), The Egoist (1879), The Tragic Comedians (1880), and Diana of the Crossways (1885). His most important works of non-fiction were his volume of poems, Modern Love (1862) and his Essay on Comedy and the Uses of the Comic Spirit (1897). After a long period of relative neglect, Meredith became famous and respected in his old age, and in 1905 he received the Order of Merit. He died in 1909.