Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

Raynham Hall

Raynham Hall. Ancestral seat of the Feverel family. Like many English manorial estates, Raynham Hall is a self-contained city, frequently described as a fortress or citadel sheltering its inhabitants from the outside world. Sir Austin keeps his only son, Richard, a virtual prisoner in Raynham Hall while the boy is growing up, carefully ensuring that Richard will face no temptations, especially from women, during his formative years. Because Raynham Hall provides a practically self-sufficient community, Sir Austin is able to introduce what he believes are the right kinds of people to help shape his son’s character and not allow Richard to fall prey to the wrong woman, as happened to Sir Austin himself. The cold, lifeless surroundings of the hall are set in contrast to the grounds outside, and especially to the farms in the surrounding area, where life seems to flourish and relationships develop naturally.


Belthorpe. Home of Farmer Blaize, Lucy Desborough’s uncle. Richard and his friend Ripton arrange to burn a haystack on the farm in retaliation for Farmer Blaize’s treatment of them when he catches them poaching game. In having to admit guilt for his offense, Richard visits Belthorpe and first meets Lucy. A future chance meeting in the woods brings the young people together again, and the rural setting provides an Arcadian backdrop for their first amatory adventures. Despite his father’s...

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(Great Characters in Literature)

Horne, Lewis. “Sir Austin, His Devil, and the Well-designed World.” Studies in the Novel 24, no. 1 (Spring, 1992): 35-48. Argues that Richard Feverel’s ordeal is also to a great extent that of his father, Sir Austin. Analyzes the novel’s metaphors and classical references.

Muendel, Renate. George Meredith. New York: Twayne, 1986. Good introduction to the Victorian writer and his works, with broad, insightful analyses. Includes bibliography and a concordance to Meredith’s poetry.

Shaheen, Mohammad. George Meredith: A Reappraisal of the Novels. Totowa, N.J.: Barnes & Noble Books, 1981. Suggests that traditional Meredith criticism has viewed his fiction too much in the light of The Egoist. Concentrates on the writer’s other major works as being more representative of his truly independent mind. Specifically explores how character expresses theme in Meredith’s novels.

Stone, James Stuart. George Meredith’s Politics: As Seen in His Life, Friendships, and Works. Port Credit, Canada: P. D. Meany, 1986. Attempts to expound what Stone calls Meredith’s “evolutionary radicalism” and the complex and interesting ways in which this suffuses his greatest novels. Useful for beginning students.

Williams, Joan, ed. Meredith: The Critical Heritage. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1971. A collection of reviews and essays showing the critical reception of Meredith’s work from 1851 through 1911.