From the preface when this work was published in 1883: "Wishes have often been expressed that the articles known to have been written by George Eliot in the Westminster Review before she had become famous under that pseudonym, should be republished. Those wishes are now gratified - as far, at any rate, as it is possible to gratify them. For it was not George Eliot's desire that the whole of these articles should be rescued from oblivion. And in order that there might be no doubt on the subject, she made, some time before her death, a collection of such of her fugitive writings as she considered deserving of a permanent form; carefully revised them for the press; and left them, in the order in which they here appear, with written injunctions that no other pieces written by her, of date prior to 1857, should be republished."Also included in this volume are some "notes," as George Eliot simply called them, which belong to a much later period, and which have not been previously published.