By Martin Raitiere
One of Victorian England’s most famed philosophers harbored a mystery: Herbert Spencer suffered from an ailment so weighted down with stigma that he feared its revelation could wreck him. He hence went to awesome lengths to conceal his illness from the general public. tremendously, he drew of his closest friends—the novelist George Eliot and her associate, G. H. Lewes—into his mystery. Years later, he additionally shared it with a awesome neurologist, John Hughlings-Jackson, higher positioned than someone else in England to appreciate his ailment. Spencer insisted that every one 3 aid him with out betraying his situation to others—and of them did so. yet George Eliot, nonetheless smarting from Spencer’s rejection, years past, of her supply of affection, didn't. Ingeniously, she devised a method either one of nominally respecting (for their contemporaries) and of violating (for our profit) Spencer’s injunction. What she concealed from her friends she unearths to us in an act of deferred, yet audacious literary revenge. It’s the following decoded for the 1st time. certainly The Complicity of Friends includes the 1st disclosure of Spencer’s hidden frailty but additionally, extra importantly, of the responses it generated within the lives and works of his 3 striking associates.
This e-book offers an entire rethinking of its central figures. The novelist who emerges in those pages is a extra sinuous and passionate George Eliot than the oracular Victorian we're used to listening to approximately. the importance of the friendship among Lewes, her irrepressible associate, and the artistic Hughlings-Jackson is printed for the 1st time. And in an ironic twist, even his 3 farsighted confidants couldn't count on that, past due within the 20th century, convinced of Spencer’s personal intuitions in regards to the nature and provenance of his disease will be vindicated. people with any curiosity in George Eliot, Lewes, Hughlings-Jackson, or Spencer may be pressured to re-envision their personalities after reading The Complicity of Friends.