I’ve read the appropriately titled Tarantula’s Web, and the book cannot answer the question about what words passed between them concerning the marriage or the bride. (Someone has already observed that one has to be careful about making remarks about the prospective or former spouses of friends.) I can well believe that there were differing reactions among people who knew Eliot well. But how do we at this distance come to a conclusion about Eliot’s “cruelty” in this specific situation?

On another note about Eliot scholarship, a tweet:

Cécile Varry 
'At a certain moment on Thursday, [Lyndall] Gordon and Frances Dickey ... got up from their library table, hugged each other, & squeezed hands... Not a usual scene in sober archives'



On Jan 9, 2020, at 12:59 PM, Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Well, we do. See the biography of Hayward, "Tarantula's Web." I reviewed it in the TSE Newsletter.

A problem, as I addressed, is that there seem to be different versions of the last times they talked. What I refer to as his treatment, however, is that they were sharing a flat, and Eliot left without telling Hayward or Mary Trevelyan in advance at all. There were differing reactions among their friends also.


On Thu, Jan 9, 2020 at 1:52 PM Materer, Timothy J. <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

treatment of John Hayward

How can we come to any conclusion about Eliot’s treatment of John Hayward? We can have no idea of what Hayward said to Eliot about his marriage or his bride. What words passed between them? We can’t know.