The Egoist
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Egoist

3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  437 ratings  ·  31 reviews present you this new edition. Comedy is a game played to throw reflections upon social life, and it deals with human nature in the drawing-room of civilized men and women, where we have no dust of the struggling outer world, no mire, no violent crashes, to make the correctness of the representation convincing. Credulity is not wooed through the impressionable s...more
ebook, 831 pages
Published December 3rd 2010 by Pubone.Info (first published 1879)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Egoist, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Egoist

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,302)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
John Fuller
This is a fantastic story about Willoughby, a man who is so self-centered he never considers the possibility that other people are separate human beings. Dead-on portrayal of awful social situations (think Jane Austen). I laughed over and over at the awkwardness of Willoughby's bride-to-be, and the painfully clueless behavior of the Egoist himself.

One caveat, though : you gotta love Victorian novels to make it through this one. The Egoist contains some of the densest English I have ever read. (I...more
Sarah Magdalene
It’s quite sad that people always look eastward for enlightenment, when it can just as easily be found in our own native literature, if not for the sorry fact that ‘education’ makes people frightened of reading. Frightened of thinking in fact.

In any case, thinking about how lovely all the female characters are in The Egoist brought a little tear to my eye last night. It is a very lovely book. You end up loving them all, even the unbearable Egoist, who really just needs a sound thrashing from a c...more
The Egoist is one of the strangest novels I have come across, a psychological analysis of a type particularly interesting because men like him often rise to positions of power in politics or commerce.

The novel would have been tedious, as well as confusing, if George Meredith had used the egoist as first person narrative. Instead, Meredith takes an oblique approach by viewing the egoist through the corners of other people’s eyes. There are problems with this approach, too, for the reader. The eg...more
Meredith, George. THE EGOIST. (1879; this ed. 1963). ****. Meredith was one of the authors on my guilt list. He’s one of the writers that I knew I should read, but never got round to doing so. This is probably one of his most famous novels, but it took me by surprise. I expected his writing to be like most of the other writing of time in England, but I was wrong. When I read the first chapter, I was totally conufused: It had nothing to do with the rest of the book. When I got to chapter 2, the s...more
Susan Harter
The opening essay on comedy is a little heavy, and sometimes his allusions are so erudite, obscure and dated I have no idea what he's talking about.

But putting all that aside this is a surprisingly modern story. A young, rich, beautiful woman finds herself engaged to a not-so-young, rich and beautiful man. Both are considered the catch of the county. But she soon realizes, though she can't quite name or understand it, that something is very very wrong with him. Her growing realization, both of h...more
Dense, ornate, tricksy, bewildering, erudite, mannered, humane and witty, this book is likely to either delight or exasperate its readers.

It is the story of Sir Willougby Patterne, a handsome and well-bred young man, and the women he courts, whose names belie their characters: Laetitia being anything but joyful, Constantia inconstant, and Clara not at all clear-headed, except when she perceives that the man to whom she has just become engaged is a monstrous and self-centered Egoist.

Much of the...more
Free download available at Project Gutenberg.

The audio version is available at LibriVox.
Nov 10, 2013 Nancy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes 19th century authors and novels.
The Egoist might remind you of someone you know.
Sir Willoughby Patterne is self-centered, wealthy, unforgiving and worried about what people think. There are three women in his life and he plans to marry each one until he is dumped and then discovers a new one in the nick of time to save face. Sir. Willoughby can't make up his mind who will best set off his home and himself. It's all about appearances.
But this isn't at all a completely serious book. Enter Mrs. Mountstewart Jenkinson, a kind o...more
Adam Floridia
George Meredith's sentences are absolutely labyrinthine and took some getting used to (although, even at the end of the book I was rereading some passages to discern meaning). This made for a VERY slow read. What’s more, not a whole lot happens in the 400+ pages—Clara Middleton tries to disengage herself from Sir Willoughby. The story itself is a dry satire revolving around the (mock) epic battles that take place in aristocratic drawing rooms and dining rooms. Despite the seeming drawbacks, the...more
D.j. Lang
Rating this book is quite a challenge. There is a story in it worth reading; however, getting to the story may prove difficult for some readers -- Meredith spends (if I am remembering correctly) a whole two pages discussing a man's leg! When I first read this book back in the 70s for a class, there was some discussion about how we had to read books by 4th and 5th rated male writers, and women authors received little attention if they weren't an Austen, a Bronte, or an Eliot. Still, fifth rated o...more
Dara Salley
I was fully prepared to hate this book and after the first chapter or two I thought I might not be able to make it through. However, as I stuck with it, the book began to reveal its charms. It has some very insightful remarks about human relationships. I enjoyed the idea of using the concept of evolution as a backdrop for a comic drama. Some reviewers have referred to this as a feminist novel, but I don’t really see it that way. It shows a woman coming to the realization of what is entailed in m...more
I thought this book started slowly and was daunted by the 600 pages to come, but it soon got really interesting. The main character's name, Willoughby Patterne, is your clue that this is a comedy of manners. For a Victorian novel quite withering about humans and our foibles. Which lady will Sir Willoughby propose to, and what will happen if she refuses?
The Egoist left a deep twist in my heart how I see the vanity, power and egos of today's world. George Meredith captivated the characteristics of each cast!
Tom Leland
“We all know the Victorian writers, Dickens, Thackeray, George Eliot, Trollope, Hardy, even Gissing. But there is one, in his time as celebrated as any of them, who is forgotten. George Meredith was admired by his peers. Stevenson, for instance, said that he was ‘out and away the greatest force in English letters.’ He was commended by most critics, even while some complained of his difficulty. He had fervent readers. Yet now the literary departments hardly know his name…."

--Doris Lessing

This was...more
James Violand
Jul 02, 2014 James Violand rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one.
Shelves: own
It's hard to like a book whose protagonist is so unlikable. I did not care for this at all.
Tough getting the hang of the prose, although the convoluted sentences are part of the satire of the book so they are supposed to be tough going. A 21st century sensibility would like a more concise book, but this is a trip back in time.

The basic trick is to imagine this as a Gilbert & Sullivan play without the music. I am sure Gilbert would have liked the idea of a father encouraging his daughter to wed a fellow with a good wine cellar.
About as good as a book can be without being recommendable to anybody. Interesting if you love Victorian romance or have a deep interest in the history of psychology in the late 19th century.

verrry tough read, took me weeks to get through. Meredith's satirical style actually makes him harder to read than his straight-forward contemporaries, imo.
Elizabeth LaPrelle
Too squirmy! I can't believe how many conversations about vitally important matters were completely misinterpreted because of pronoun use! It was supposed to be funny, and it sort of was. It was like a long, better-written, more morally-directed, better-costumed episode of Friends. But it was still like an episode of Friends.
Jul 19, 2011 Riodelmartians is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
This book takes time since it's point of view is so microscopic. I have to leave to read other books. How does one deal with the wealthy egoist with a marvelous wine/port selection?? I will finish this in 2011....getting closer with rescue on the horizon as LaCraye gets more involved.
A re-read of a book I read in college. I still enjoy it. For a comedy, it's not especially funny--but I love the way it lays bare the thoughts and motivations of all the characters. My only disappointment is that considering the title, I'd really like more of a focus on waffles.
The biggest drawback of this book was that it was quite long. That's not a bad thing except for when it's long because it's repetitive. I could have done with a two fewer conversations covering the same ground of earlier chapters. I guess some things never change...
Has some perceptive thoughts on the title subject, a handful of gems scattered through the book, but the rhetorical style makes this one tough going most of the way despite some humourous and touching passages and sympathetic characters
Pretty decent novel, albeit with the rather verbose language typical of Victorian literature. The story and characters transcend the "outdated" style, however, as one can easily draw parallels to their own life.
An excellent satire fully of witty women and spoiled men. But, ultimately, not the most satisfying ending. Does you like being the pawn of your fiance and your father?? Yippy!
Didn't feel any sympathy for the title character, but I did like certain other characters. Find it interesting how society has changed since this book was first published.
May 17, 2014 ☯Bettie☯ marked it as wish-list  ·  review of another edition
to look into/hunt down
Jennifer James
I couldn't finish this book. The language was obscure and the characters were unlikeable. The plot moved very slowly. Not recommended.
Read this in college and LOVED it! Funny stuff. Time to re-read it.
David Cain
Wonderful in a dry-humor kind of way
This was a very dense novel and I was afraid I wouldn't be able to finish it as it is so complex and full of, to me unknown, references. Half-way during the read though it got better and I sort of got the hang of Meredith's style. It is a pretty unusual achievement I think, although not altogether in my preferred cup of tea, as Meredith is really taking the mickey out of 19th century aristocratic males with their Tennyson-like opinions on women,marriage and their all-important selves.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 43 44 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
just some observations 1 2 Mar 07, 2013 11:52AM  
  • The Nether World
  • The Echoing Grove
  • The History Of Henry Esmond, Esq. (Clear Print)
  • Orley Farm
  • The Trumpet-Major
  • The Doctor's Wife
  • Love For Lydia
  • Sybil, or the Two Nations
  • Dover Beach and Other Poems
  • East Lynne
  • The Heart of Mid-Lothian
  • Miss Marjoribanks
  • Victory
  • Look at Me
  • The Ring and the Book (Broadview literary texts)
  • Claudine at School
  • Sartor Resartus
  • The Parasites
George Meredith was an English novelist and poet during the Victorian era. He read law and was articled as a solicitor, but abandoned that profession for journalism and poetry shortly after marrying Mary Ellen Nicolls, a widowed daughter of Thomas Love Peacock, in 1849. He was twenty-one years old; she was thirty.

He collected his early writings, first published in periodicals, into Poems, which wa...more
More about George Meredith...
The Ordeal of Richard Feverel Modern Love Diana of the Crossways Comedy: "An Essay on Comedy" by George Meredith. "Laughter" by Henri Bergson The Shaving Of Shagpat

Share This Book

“Cynicism is intellectual dandyism. ” 7 likes
“They were plighted; they were one eternally; they could not be parted. She listened gravely, conceiving the infinity as a narrow dwelling where a voice droned and ceased not. However, she listened. She became an attentive listener.” 0 likes
More quotes…