2 DECEMBER 1911, Page 13

George Eliot : Scenes and People in her Novels. By

Charles S. Olcott. (Cassell and Co. 6s. net.)—Mr. Olcott has made a very careful study of his subject. And, indeed, it was worth making, not only because "George Eliot " was a great writer, but because she went to real life and real persons for the scenes and characters of her fiction in an unusual way. When the " Scenes of Clerical Life" came out, for instance, people at Nuneaton, the "village " of the story, drew out lists of dramatis personae, these lists closely agreeing though independently made. This is possible enough ; but when we are told the famous taproom talk was actually reported and remembered by the writer after nearly twenty years, we protest. The same thing occurs in other novels, and it is a special gift of genius to produce such work. Did ever tae- room guests "talk so well " ? Mr. Olcott goes through all the novels and shows how the novelist took the greatest pane to collect materials. Had she been writing a scientific history she could not have done more. A most interesting book this.