George Eliot

(Mary Ann Evans)

English Author

George Eliot, as she later became known, was living in 1852 at the house of John Chapman, with whom she edited the Westminster Review.A meeting was held there, in opposition to the Booksellers' Association's price-fixing policy. In a letter dated 5 May 1852, she writes:

"The meeting last night went off triumphantly...Dickens in the chair -- a position he fills remarkably well, preserving a courteous neutrality of eyebrow, and speaking with clearness and decision. His appearance is certainly disappointing -- no benevolence in the face and I think little in the head -- the anterior lobe not by any means remarkable. In fact he is not distinguished looking in any way -- neither handsome nor ugly, neither fat nor thin, neither tall nor short."

The phraseology of George Eliot's letter reflects her belief, at that time, in phrenology. The "anterior lobe" governed the intellectual faculties such as Casuality and Comparison.

From Philip Collins's Dickens: Interviews and Recollections, Volume I