G.H. Lewes, above, known best today mostly for being the lover of George Elliot, was an influential journalist, author and literary critic of the mid 19th century. He incurred Charlotte Bronte’s wrath by intimating, after the publication of Jane Eyre, that she might profit by writing less melodramatically, and gave her Jane Austen as an exemplar and inspiration.
"If I ever do write another book, I think I will have nothing of what you call “melodrama”; I think so, but I am not sure. I think too I will endeavour to follow the counsel which shines out of Miss Austen’s “mild eyes”; “to finish more and be more subdued”; but neither am I sure of that. When authors write best, or at least, when they wrote most fluently, an influence seems to waken in them which becomes their master, which will have its own way, putting out of view all behests but its own, dictating words, and insisting on their being used, whether vehement or measured in their nature; new moulding characters, giving unthought- of turns to incidents, rejecting carefully elaborated old ideas, and suddenly creating and adopting new ones. Is this not so? And should we try to counteract this influence? Can we indeed counteract it?…