Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Kenneth L. Knickerbocker

Committee Members

Alwin Thaler, Albert Rapp, William Moor, Kenneth Curry


Introduction: Like most writers, George Meredith passed through a period of apprenticeship and imitation, in which he tested and rejected or assimilated techniques and theories of writers whose works were familiar to him. Definite traces of Arabian, German, and English models are to be found in Meredith's early novels. The influence of The Arabian Nights on The Shaving of Shagpat is manifest, and Farina is a burlesque of the revival of medievalism characteristic of many of the early nineteenth-century English and German romances. Distinct traces of Dickens are to be seen in Evan Harrington, Rhoda Fleming, and The Adventures of Harry Richmond. It is clear, also, to the reader of his early works, that Meredith drew upon Fielding, Richardson, and Thackery for occasional support and inspiration. But these influences are all superficial and, for the most part, fleeting--early discarded by Meredith as he gradually developed his own theory of literature. The influence of Thomas Love Peacock on Meredith appears to have been of some lasting significance and has been the subject of a special study. Far more fundamental and lasting than any of these influences, however, was the influence on Meredith of Thomas Carlyle.

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