Providence and Love: Studies in Wordsworth, Channing, Myers, George Eliot and Ruskin

These studies are connected by common underlying themes: the sense of Providence, the growing awareness of its loss in the nineteenth century and the pressure on the ideal of Romantic love as that came increasingly to be treated as a substitute. Other questions are raised. Were Wordsworth's 'Lucy' poems simply Romantic fictions, or did they mask the memory of an actual youthful attachment? What was the story behind the secret message which F. W. H. Myers left with the Society for Psychical Research, hoping to transmit it after his death? And what was it about the young Cambridge men George Eliot met in 1872 that made them particularly attractive to her? Investigation of these and other matters has led to close scrutiny of various manuscripts in British and American libraries, certain of which, including some letters of George Eliot recently discovered in Cambridge, are reproduced here for the first time.