Leslie Stephen was the first serious critic of the novel, and he was also editor of the great Dictionary of National Biography from its beginning in 1882 until 1891. In 1859 he was ordained a minister. As a tutor at Cambridge his philosophical readings led him to skepticism, and later he relinquished his holy orders. He wrote several essays defending his agnostic position. Throughout his life Stephen was a prominent athlete and mountaineer. Virginia Woolf was the younger of his two daughters by his second wife. His first wife was Harriet Marian Thackeray, daughter of the novelist. This book is notable for containing the first book appearance of Virginia Woolf (a brief memoir of her father on pages 474-476).