George Eliot

Mary Anne Evans (22 November 1819 – 22 December 1880; alternatively Mary Ann or Marian), known by her pen name George Eliot, was an English novelist, poet, journalist, translator, and one of the leading writers of the Victorian era. She wrote seven novels, including Adam Bede (1859), The Mill on the Floss (1860), Silas Marner (1861), Romola (1862–63), Middlemarch (1871–72), and Daniel Deronda (1876), most of which are set in provincial England and known for their realism and psychological insight.

Although female authors were published under their own names during her lifetime, she wanted to escape the stereotype of women's writing being limited to lighthearted romances. She also wanted to have her fiction judged separately from her already extensive and widely known work as an editor and critic. Another factor in her use of a pen name may have been a desire to shield her private life from public scrutiny, thus avoiding the scandal that would have arisen because of her relationship with the married George Henry Lewes.[1]

Eliot's Middlemarch has been described by the novelists Martin Amis[2] and Julian Barnes[3] as the greatest novel in the English language.

George Eliot
Photograph (albumen print) of George Eliot, c. 1865
Photograph (albumen print) of George Eliot, c. 1865
BornMary Anne Evans
22 November 1819
Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England, United Kingdom
Died22 December 1880 (aged 61)
Chelsea, London, England
Resting placeHighgate Cemetery (East), Highgate, London, UK
Pen nameGeorge Eliot
OccupationNovelist, poet, journalist, translator
Notable worksThe Mill on the Floss (1860), Silas Marner (1861), Romola (1862–1863), Middlemarch (1871–72), Daniel Deronda (1876)
John Cross (m. 1880)
PartnerGeorge Henry Lewes (1854–78)
RelativesRobert Evans (father)
Christiana Pearson (mother)


Early life and education

Mary Ann Evans was born in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England. She was the third child of Robert Evans (1773–1849) and Christiana Evans (née Pearson, 1788–1836), the daughter of a local mill-owner. Mary Ann's name was sometimes shortened to Marian.[4] Her full siblings were Christiana, known as Chrissey (1814–59), Isaac (1816–1890), and twin brothers who died a few days after birth in March 1821. She also had a half-brother, Robert (1802–64), and half-sister, Fanny (1805–82), from her father's previous marriage to Harriet Poynton (?1780–1809). Her father Robert Evans, of Welsh ancestry, was the manager of the Arbury Hall Estate for the Newdigate family in Warwickshire, and Mary Ann was born on the estate at South Farm. In early 1820 the family moved to a house named Griff House, between Nuneaton and Bedworth.[5]

The young Evans was a voracious reader and obviously intelligent. Because she was not considered physically beautiful, Evans was not thought to have much chance of marriage, and this, coupled with her intelligence, led her father to invest in an education not often afforded women.[6] From ages five to nine, she boarded with her sister Chrissey at Miss Latham's school in Attleborough, from ages nine to thirteen at Mrs. Wallington's school in Nuneaton, and from ages thirteen to sixteen at Miss Franklin's school in Coventry. At Mrs. Wallington's school, she was taught by the evangelical Maria Lewis — to whom her earliest surviving letters are addressed. In the religious atmosphere of Miss Franklin's school, Evans was exposed to a quiet, disciplined belief opposed to evangelicalism.[7]

After age sixteen, Evans had little formal education.[8] Thanks to her father's important role on the estate, she was allowed access to the library of Arbury Hall, which greatly aided her self-education and breadth of learning. Her classical education left its mark; Christopher Stray has observed that "George Eliot's novels draw heavily on Greek literature (only one of her books can be printed correctly without the use of a Greek typeface), and her themes are often influenced by Greek tragedy".[9] Her frequent visits to the estate also allowed her to contrast the wealth in which the local landowner lived with the lives of the often much poorer people on the estate, and different lives lived in parallel would reappear in many of her works. The other important early influence in her life was religion. She was brought up within a low church Anglican family, but at that time the Midlands was an area with a growing number of religious dissenters.

Move to Coventry

In 1836 her mother died and Evans (then 16) returned home to act as housekeeper, but she continued correspondence with her tutor Maria Lewis. When she was 21, her brother Isaac married and took over the family home, so Evans and her father moved to Foleshill near Coventry. The closeness to Coventry society brought new influences, most notably those of Charles and Cara Bray. Charles Bray had become rich as a ribbon manufacturer and had used his wealth in the building of schools and in other philanthropic causes. Evans, who had been struggling with religious doubts for some time, became intimate friends with the radical, free-thinking Brays, whose "Rosehill" home was a haven for people who held and debated radical views. The people whom the young woman met at the Brays' house included Robert Owen, Herbert Spencer, Harriet Martineau, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Through this society Evans was introduced to more liberal and agnostic theologies and to writers such as David Strauss and Ludwig Feuerbach, who cast doubt on the literal truth of Biblical stories. In fact, her first major literary work was an English translation of Strauss's The Life of Jesus (1846), which she completed after it had been left incomplete by another member of the "Rosehill Circle"; later she translated Feuerbach’s The Essence of Christianity (1854). As a product of their friendship, Bray published some of Evans's earliest writing, such as reviews, in his newspaper the Coventry Herald and Observer.[10]

When Evans began to question her religious faith, her father threatened to throw her out of the house, but his threat was not carried out. Instead, she respectfully attended church and continued to keep house for him until his death in 1849, when she was 30. Five days after her father's funeral, she travelled to Switzerland with the Brays. She decided to stay on in Geneva alone, living first on the lake at Plongeon (near the present-day United Nations buildings) and then on the second floor of a house owned by her friends François and Juliet d'Albert Durade on the rue de Chanoines (now the rue de la Pelisserie). She commented happily that "one feels in a downy nest high up in a good old tree". Her stay is commemorated by a plaque on the building. While residing there, she read avidly and took long walks in the beautiful Swiss countryside, which was a great inspiration to her. François Durade painted her portrait there as well.[11]

Move to London and editorship of the Westminster Review

On her return to England the following year (1850), she moved to London with the intent of becoming a writer, and she began referring to herself as Marian Evans. She stayed at the house of John Chapman, the radical publisher whom she had met earlier at Rosehill and who had published her Strauss translation. Chapman had recently purchased the campaigning, left-wing journal The Westminster Review, and Evans became its assistant editor in 1851. Although Chapman was officially the editor, it was Evans who did most of the work of producing the journal, contributing many essays and reviews beginning with the January 1852 issue and continuing until the end of her employment at the Review in the first half of 1854.[12] Eliot sympathized with the 1848 Revolutions throughout continental Europe, and even hoped that the Italians would chase the "odious Austrians" out of Lombardy and that "decayed monarchs" would be pensioned off, although she believed a gradual reformist approach to social problems was best for England.[13][14]

Women writers were common at the time, but Evans's role as the female editor of a literary magazine was quite unusual. During this period, she formed a number of unreciprocated emotional attachments, including one with Chapman (who was married, but lived with both his wife and his mistress), and another with Herbert Spencer.

Relationship with George Lewes

George Eliot by Samuel Laurence
Portrait of George Eliot by Samuel Laurence, c. 1860

The philosopher and critic George Henry Lewes (1817–78) met Evans in 1851, and by 1854 they had decided to live together. Lewes was already married to Agnes Jervis, although in an open marriage. In addition to the three children they had together, Agnes also had four children by Thornton Leigh Hunt.[15] In July 1854, Lewes and Evans travelled to Weimar and Berlin together for the purpose of research. Before going to Germany, Evans continued her theological work with a translation of Feuerbach's The Essence of Christianity, and while abroad she wrote essays and worked on her translation of Baruch Spinoza's Ethics, which she completed in 1856, but which was not published in her lifetime.[16]

The trip to Germany also served as a honeymoon for Evans and Lewes, who subsequently considered themselves married. Evans began to refer to Lewes as her husband and to sign her name as Mary Ann Evans Lewes. Eventually, after Lewes' death, she legally changed her name to Mary Ann Evans Lewes.[17] It was not unusual for men in Victorian society to have adulterous affairs; Charles Bray, John Chapman, Friedrich Engels, and Wilkie Collins all had adulterous affairs, conducted with discretion. By contrast, Lewes and Evans declined to conceal their relationship, and it was this refusal which perhaps gave an additional edge to the reproaches of contemporary moralists.

Career in fiction

While continuing to contribute pieces to the Westminster Review, Evans resolved to become a novelist, and set out a pertinent manifesto in one of her last essays for the Review, "Silly Novels by Lady Novelists"[18] (1856). The essay criticised the trivial and ridiculous plots of contemporary fiction written by women. In other essays, she praised the realism of novels that were being written in Europe at the time, an emphasis on realistic storytelling confirmed in her own subsequent fiction. She also adopted a nom-de-plume, George Eliot; as she explained to her biographer J. W. Cross, George was Lewes's forename, and Eliot was "a good mouth-filling, easily pronounced word" [19]

In 1857, when she was 37 years of age, "The Sad Fortunes of the Reverend Amos Barton", the first of the three stories comprising Scenes of Clerical Life, and the first work of "George Eliot", was published in Blackwood's Magazine.[20] The Scenes (published as a 2-volume book in 1858),[20] was well received, and was widely believed to have been written by a country parson, or perhaps the wife of a parson. Evans's first complete novel, published in 1859, was Adam Bede.[20] It was an instant success, and prompted yet more intense curiosity as to the author's identity: there was even a pretender to the authorship, one Joseph Liggins. This public interest subsequently led to Marian Evans Lewes's acknowledgment that it was she who stood behind the pseudonym George Eliot.

The revelations about Eliot's private life surprised and shocked many of her admiring readers, but this did not affect her popularity as a novelist. Her relationship with Lewes afforded her the encouragement and stability she needed to write fiction, but it would be some time before the couple were accepted into polite society. Acceptance was finally confirmed in 1877 when they were introduced to Princess Louise, the daughter of Queen Victoria. The queen herself was an avid reader of all of Eliot's novels and was so impressed with Adam Bede that she commissioned the artist Edward Henry Corbould to paint scenes from the book.[21]

George Eliot 31 Wimbledon Park Road blue plaque
Blue plaque, Holly Lodge, 31 Wimbledon Park Road, London

When the American Civil War broke out, Eliot expressed sympathy with the North, which was a rare stance in England at the time.[13][14] In 1868 she supported Richard Congreve's protests against Britain's imperial policy toward Ireland and her view of the growing movement in support of Irish Home Rule was positive.[13][14]

She was influenced by the writings of John Stuart Mill and read all of his major works as they were published.[22] In Mill's Subjection of Women (1869) she judged the second chapter excoriating the laws which oppress married women "excellent."[14] She was supportive of Mill's parliamentary run, but believed that the electorate was unlikely to vote for a philosopher and was surprised when he won.[13] While Mill served in parliament, she expressed her agreement with Mill's efforts on behalf of female suffrage, being "inclined to hope for much good from the serious presentation of women's claims before Parliament."[23] In a letter to John Morley, she declared her support for plans "which held out reasonable promise of tending to establish as far as possible an equivalence of advantage for the two sexes, as to education and the possibilities of free development", and dismissed appeals to nature in explaining women's lower status.[23][14] In 1870, she responded enthusiastically to Lady Amberley's feminist lecture on the claims of women for education, occupations, equality in marriage, and child custody.[14]

After the success of Adam Bede, Eliot continued to write popular novels for the next fifteen years. Within a year of completing Adam Bede, she finished The Mill on the Floss, dedicating the manuscript: "To my beloved husband, George Henry Lewes, I give this MS. of my third book, written in the sixth year of our life together, at Holly Lodge, South Field, Wandsworth, and finished 21 March 1860."

Her last novel was Daniel Deronda, published in 1876, after which she and Lewes moved to Witley, Surrey. By this time Lewes's health was failing, and he died two years later, on 30 November 1878. Eliot spent the next two years editing Lewes's final work, Life and Mind, for publication, and found solace and companionship with John Walter Cross, a Scottish commission agent[24] 20 years her junior, whose mother had recently died.

Marriage to John Cross and death

Highgate Cemetery - East - George Eliot 01
Eliot's grave in Highgate Cemetery

On 16 May 1880 Eliot married John Cross and again changed her name, this time to Mary Anne Cross. While the marriage courted some controversy due to the difference in ages, it pleased her brother Isaac, who had broken off relations with her when she had begun to live with Lewes, and now sent congratulations. While the couple were honeymooning in Venice, Cross, in a fit of depression, jumped from the hotel balcony into the Grand Canal. He survived, and the newlyweds returned to England. They moved to a new house in Chelsea, but Eliot fell ill with a throat infection. This, coupled with the kidney disease with which she had been afflicted for several years, led to her death on 22 December 1880 at the age of 61.[25]

Eliot was not buried in Westminster Abbey because of her denial of the Christian faith and her adulterous affair with Lewes. She was buried in Highgate Cemetery (East), Highgate, London, in the area reserved for societal outcasts, religious dissenters and agnostics, beside the love of her life, George Henry Lewes. The graves of Karl Marx and her friend Herbert Spencer are nearby. [26] In 1980, on the centenary of her death, a memorial stone was established for her in the Poets' Corner.

Several landmarks in her birthplace of Nuneaton are named in her honour. These include The George Eliot School, Middlemarch Junior School, George Eliot Hospital, (formerly Nuneaton Emergency Hospital),[27] and George Eliot Road, in Foleshill, Coventry.

A statue of Eliot is in Newdegate Street, Nuneaton, and Nuneaton Museum & Art Gallery has a display of artifacts related to her.

Personal appearance

The 26-year-old Henry James described Eliot as "magnificently ugly — deliciously hideous. She has a low forehead, a dull gray eye, a vast pendulous nose, a huge mouth, full of uneven teeth and a chin and jawbone qui n’en finissent pas [which never end]." He continued, however, to confess, "“Now in this vast ugliness resides a most powerful beauty which, in a very few minutes steals forth and charms the mind, so that you end as I ended, in falling in love with her. . . . Yes behold me literally in love with this great horse-faced bluestocking.”[28] He was not alone in both opinions; others would fall under the spell of her personality and intelligence.[29]

Literary assessment

George Eliot 7
Portrait by Frederick William Burton, 1864

Throughout her career, Eliot wrote with a politically astute pen. From Adam Bede to The Mill on the Floss and Silas Marner, Eliot presented the cases of social outsiders and small-town persecution. Felix Holt, the Radical and The Legend of Jubal were overtly political, and political crisis is at the heart of Middlemarch, in which she presents the stories of a number of inhabitants of a small English town on the eve of the Reform Bill of 1832; the novel is notable for its deep psychological insight and sophisticated character portraits. The roots of her realist philosophy can be found in her review of John Ruskin's Modern Painters in Westminster Review in 1856.

Readers in the Victorian era praised her novels for their depictions of rural society. Much of the material for her prose was drawn from her own experience. She shared with Wordsworth the belief that there was much value and beauty to be found in the mundane details of ordinary country life. Eliot did not, however, confine herself to stories of the English countryside. Romola, an historical novel set in late fifteenth century Florence, was based on the life of the Italian priest Girolamo Savonarola. In The Spanish Gypsy, Eliot made a foray into verse, but her poetry's initial popularity has not endured.

Working as a translator, Eliot was exposed to German texts of religious, social, and moral philosophy such as Friedrich Strauss’s Life of Jesus, Feuerbach’s The Essence of Christianity, and Spinoza’s Ethics. Elements from these works show up in her fiction, much of which is written with her trademark sense of agnostic humanism. She had taken particular notice of Feuerbach’s conception of Christianity, positing that our understanding of the nature of the divine was to be found ultimately in the nature of humanity projected onto a divine figure. An example of this philosophy appeared in her novel Romola, in which Eliot’s protagonist displayed a “surprisingly modern readiness to interpret religious language in humanist or secular ethical terms.”[30] Though Eliot herself was not religious, she had respect for religious tradition and its ability to maintain a sense of social order and morality. The religious elements in her fiction also owe much to her upbringing, with the experiences of Maggie Tulliver from The Mill on the Floss sharing many similarities with the young Mary Ann Evans. Eliot also faced a quandary similar to that of Silas Marner, whose alienation from the church simultaneously meant his alienation from society. Because Eliot retained a vestigial respect for religion, German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche excoriated her system of morality for figuring sin as a debt that can be expiated through suffering, which he demeaned as characteristic of "little moralistic females à la Eliot."[31]

She was at her most autobiographical in Looking Backwards, part of her final published work Impressions of Theophrastus Such. By the time of Daniel Deronda, Eliot's sales were falling off, and she had faded from public view to some degree. This was not helped by the posthumous biography written by her husband, which portrayed a wonderful, almost saintly, woman totally at odds with the scandalous life people knew she had led. In the 20th century she was championed by a new breed of critics, most notably by Virginia Woolf, who called Middlemarch "one of the few English novels written for grown-up people".[32] In 1994, literary critic Harold Bloom placed Eliot among the most important Western writers of all time.[33] In a 2007 authors' poll by TIME, Middlemarch was voted the tenth greatest literary work ever written.[34] In 2015, writers from outside the UK voted it first among all British novels "by a landslide".[35] The various film and television adaptations of Eliot's books have re-introduced her to the wider reading public.




  • Agatha, 1869
  • Brother and Sister, 1869
  • Armgart, 1871
  • Stradivarius, 1873
  • The Legend of Jubal, 1874
  • I Grant You Ample Leave, 1874
  • Arion, 1874
  • A Minor Prophet, 1874
  • A College Breakfast Party, 1879
  • The Death of Moses, 1879
  • In a London Drawingroom, 1865
  • Count That Day Lost



  1. ^ Karl, Frederick R. George Eliot: Voice of a Century. Norton, 1995. pp. 237–38.
  2. ^ Long, Camilla. Martin Amis and the sex war, The Times, 24 January 2010, p. 4: "They've [women] produced the greatest writer in the English language ever, George Eliot, and arguably the third greatest, Jane Austen, and certainly the greatest novel, Middlemarch..."
  3. ^ Guppy, Shusha. "Interviews: Julian Barnes, The Art of Fiction No. 165". The Paris Review (Winter 2000). Retrieved 26 May 2012.
  4. ^ University of Virginia According to a University of Virginia research forum published here, her baptismal records record the spelling as Mary-Anne, and she uses this spelling in her earliest letters. Around 1857, she began to use Mary Ann. In 1859, she was using Marian, but she reverted to Mary Ann in 1880. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 23 August 2009. Retrieved 24 August 2007.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  5. ^ "George Eliot Biography - life, childhood, children, name, story, death, history, wife, school, young". Retrieved 2018-07-23.
  6. ^ Karl, Frederick R. George Eliot: Voice of a Century. Norton, 1995. pp. 24–25
  7. ^ Karl, Frederick R. George Eliot: Voice of a Century. Norton, 1995. p. 31
  8. ^ Karl, Frederick R. George Eliot: Voice of a Century. Norton, 1995. p. 52
  9. ^ Christopher Stray Classics Transformed, p. 81
  10. ^ McCormick, Kathleen (Summer 1986). "George Eliot's Earliest Prose: The Coventry "Herald" and the Coventry Fiction". Victorian Periodicals Review. 19 (2): 57–62. JSTOR 20082202.
  11. ^ Hardy BN. George Elliot: A Critic's Biography. Continuum. London 2006 pp42-45.
  12. ^ Ashton, Rosemary. George Eliot: A Life. London: Penguin, 1997. 88ff. p110.
  13. ^ a b c d Fleishman, Avrom (2010). George Eliot's Intellectual Life. Cambridge University Press. p. 140–142.
  14. ^ a b c d e f Szirotny, June (2015). George Eliot's Feminism: The Right to Rebellion. Springer. pp. 26–28.
  15. ^ Henry, Nancy (2008). The Cambridge Introduction to George Eliot. Cambridge: Cambridge. p. 6.
  16. ^ Hughes, Kathryn, George Eliot: The Last Victorian, p. 168.
  17. ^ Haight, Gordon S. (1968). George Eliot: A Biography. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 523.
  18. ^ "Silly Novels by Lady Novelists" text from The Westminster Review Vol. 66 old series, Vol. 10 new series (October 1856): 442–61.
  19. ^ Cross (1885), vol 1, p. 431
  20. ^ a b c Wikisource Craigie, Pearl Mary Teresa (1911). "Eliot, George" . In Chisholm, Hugh. Encyclopædia Britannica. 9 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 275–277.
  21. ^ Rosemary Ashton, "Evans, Marian [George Eliot] (1819–1880)", (Later Works) Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004
  22. ^ Fleishman, Avrom (2010). George Eliot's Intellectual Life. Cambridge University Press. p. 59.
  23. ^ a b Newton, K. M. (2018). George Eliot for the Twenty-First Century: Literature, Philosophy, Politics. Springer. p. 23-24.
  24. ^ 1881 census
  25. ^ a b "George Eliot". BBC History. 15 October 2009. Retrieved 30 December 2009.
  26. ^ Wilson, Scott. Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed.: 2 (Kindle Location 14016). McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. Kindle Edition.
  27. ^ Nuneaton Emergency Hospital at the National Archives
  28. ^ Joyce Carol Oates (23 January 2014). "Deep Reader". The New York Times.
  29. ^ Rebecca Mead (19 September 2013). "George Eliot's Ugly Beauty". The New Yorker.
  30. ^ Bidney, Martin (2002). "Philosophy and the Victorian Literary Aesthetic". In Baker, William; Womack, Kenneth. A Companion to the Victorian Novel. Westport: Greenwood Press. pp. 100–101.
  31. ^ Thomas J. Joudrey. "The Defects of Perfectionism: Nietzsche, Eliot, and the Irrevocability of Wrong." Philological Quarterly 96.1 (2017): 77-104.
  32. ^ Woolf, Virginia. "George Eliot." The Common Reader. New York: Harcourt, Brace, and World, 1925. pp. 166–76.
  33. ^ Bloom, Harold. 1994. The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages. p. 226. New York: Harcourt Brace.
  34. ^ Grossman, Lev (15 January 2007). "The 10 Greatest Books of All Time". TIME. Retrieved 9 February 2017.
  35. ^ Flood, Alison (8 December 2015). "The best British novel of all time: have international critics found it?". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 February 2017.
  • Ashton, Rosemary (1997). George Eliot: A Life. London: Penguin, 1997.
  • Bloom, Harold. (1994). The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages. New York: Harcourt Brace.
  • Cross, J. W. (ed.), (1885). George Eliot's life as related in her letters and journals, 3 vols. London: William Blackwood and Sons.
  • Fleishman, Avrom (2010). George Eliot's Intellectual Life. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Haight, Gordon S. (1968). George Eliot: A Biography. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Henry, Nancy (2008). The Cambridge Introduction to George Eliot. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Karl, Frederick R. (1995). George Eliot: Voice of a Century. Norton
  • Szirotny, June (2015). George Eliot's Feminism: The Right to Rebellion. Springer.

Further reading

Nuneaton Museum and Art Gallery Riversley Park
Nuneaton Museum and Art Gallery, in Riversley Park, home of collection on writer George Eliot
  • Henry, Nancy, The Life of George Eliot: A Critical Biography, Wiley-Blackwell, 2012
  • Haight, Gordon S., ed., George Eliot: Letters, New Haven, Connecticut, Yale University Press, 1954, ISBN 0-300-01088-5.
  • Uglow, Jennifer, George Eliot, London, Virago, 1987, ISBN 0-394-75359-3.
  • Jenkins, Lucien, Collected Poems of George Eliot, London, Skoob Books Publishing, 1989, ISBN 1-871438-35-7

Context and background

  • Beer, Gillian, Darwin's Plots: Evolutionary Narrative in Darwin, George Eliot and Nineteenth-Century Fiction, London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1983, ISBN 0-521-78392-5.
  • Gilbert, Sandra M., and Gubar, Susan, The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination, New Haven, Connecticut, Yale University Press, 1979, ISBN 0-300-08458-7.
  • Hughes, Kathryn, George Eliot: The Last Victorian, New York, Farrar Straus Giroux, 1998, ISBN 0-374-16138-0.
  • Pinney, Thomas, ed., Essays of George Eliot, London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1963, ISBN 0-231-02619-6.
  • Rignall, John, ed., Oxford Reader's Companion to George Eliot, Oxford University Press, 2000, ISBN 0-19-860099-2
  • Shuttleworth, Sally, George Eliot and Nineteenth-Century Science: The Make-Believe of a Beginning, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1984, ISBN 0-521-25786-7.
  • Uglow, Jenny, George Eliot, London, Virago Press, 1988, ISBN 0-86068-400-8.

Critical studies

  • Alley, Henry, The Quest for Anonymity: The Novels of George Eliot, University of Delaware Press, 1997.
  • Beaty, Jerome, Middlemarch from Notebook to Novel: A Study of George Eliot's Creative Method, Champaign, Illinois, University of Illinois, 1960.
  • Carroll, Alicia, Dark Smiles: Race and Desire in George Eliot, Ohio University Press, 2003.
  • Carroll, David, ed., George Eliot: The Critical Heritage, London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1971.
  • Daiches, David, George Eliot: Middlemarch, London, Edward Arnold, 1963.
  • Garrett, Peter K., The Victorian Multiplot Novel: Studies in Dialogical Form, New Haven, Connecticut, Yale University Press, 1980.
  • Graver, Suzanne, George Eliot and Community: A Study in Social Theory and Fictional Form, Berkeley, California, University of California Press, 1984.
  • Hardy, Barbara Nathan, The Novels of George Eliot: A Study in Form. Oxford UP, 1967.
  • Harvey, W J, The Art of George Eliot, London, Chatto & Windus, 1961.
  • Leavis, F R, The Great Tradition, London, Chatto & Windus, 1948.

External links

Online editions

Adam Bede

Adam Bede, the first novel written by George Eliot (the pen name of Mary Ann Evans), was published in 1859. It was published pseudonymously, even though Evans was a well-published and highly respected scholar of her time. The novel has remained in print ever since and is used in university studies of 19th-century English literature.

Adam Bede (film)

Adam Bede is a 1918 British silent drama film directed by Maurice Elvey and starring Bransby Williams, Ivy Close and Malvina Longfellow. It is an adaptation of the novel Adam Bede by George Eliot.

Bangaru Papa

Bangaru Papa (English title: Golden Baby; Telugu: బంగారు పాప) is a 1955 Telugu film directed by B. N. Reddi. It is based on the 1861 English novel Silas Marner by George Eliot. B. N. Reddi personally considered it as his best cinematic work. It showcased the acting skills of S. V. Ranga Rao. This film introduced the famous writer Palagummi Padmaraju to the cine-world.


Cruelty is indifference to suffering or pleasure in inflicting suffering. Sadism can also be related to this form of action or concept. Cruel ways of inflicting suffering may involve violence, but affirmative violence is not necessary for an act to be cruel. For example, if a person is drowning and begging for help and another person is able to help with no cost or risk, but is merely watching with disinterest or perhaps mischievous amusement, that person is being cruel—rather than violent.

George Eliot stated that "cruelty, like every other vice, requires no motive outside itself; it only requires opportunity." Bertrand Russell stated that "the infliction of cruelty with a good conscience is a delight to moralists. That is why they invented Hell." Gilbert K. Chesterton stated that "cruelty is, perhaps, the worst kind of sin. Intellectual cruelty is certainly the worst kind of cruelty."The word has metaphorical uses, for example "The cliffs remained cruel." (i.e. unclimbable when they desperately needed to be climbed) in The Lord of the Rings.

Daniel Deronda

Daniel Deronda is a novel by George Eliot, first published in 1876. It was the last novel she completed and the only one set in the contemporary Victorian society of her day. The work's mixture of social satire and moral searching, along with its sympathetic rendering of Jewish proto-Zionist ideas, has made it the controversial final statement of one of the most renowned of Victorian novelists.

The novel has been adapted for film three times, once as a silent feature and twice for television. It has also been adapted for the stage, notably in the 1960s by the 69 Theatre Company in Manchester with Vanessa Redgrave cast as the heroine Gwendolen Harleth.

George Eliot Hospital

George Eliot Hospital is a single site hospital located in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, it is managed by the George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust. It provides a full range of emergency and elective medical services, including maternity services, to the local area.

The Hospital is one of many local buildings named after Nuneaton-born author George Eliot. Additionally, many of the Hospital’s surgical and medical wards are named after characters within George Eliot novels (e.g. Felix Holt, Lydgate, Caterina, Adam Bede, Dolly Winthrop). The Hospital also has a set of operating theatres on the first floor.

George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust

The George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust runs George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England and the Urgent Care Centre, Leicester Royal Infirmary, Leicester UK.

In October 2013, as a result of the Keogh Review the Trust was put into the highest risk category by the Care Quality Commission. It was put into a buddying arrangement with University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.The NHS Trust Development Authority initiated a competitive process to identify an organisation to take over the Trust in 2012 but stopped the competition in March 2014 after the Trust got a “good” Care Quality Commission rating. South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, Circle (healthcare partnership) and Care UK were all considered. The costs of this exercise to NHS bodies amounted to £1.78 million. The George Eliot trust spent £426,000 on legal advice and support, £358,000 on financial advice and support, and £434,000 on procurement advice and project management.In August 2014 it emerged that the Trust was exploring a number of projects led by South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust. In 2018 it became part of a hospital chain with South Warwickshire and Wye Valley NHS Trust.

George Elliot

George Elliot may refer to:

George Eliot (1819–1880), pen name of Mary Ann Evans, English novelist

George Eliot (spy), English spy during reign of Queen Elizabeth I

George Elliot (Royal Navy officer, born 1784) (1784–1863), British naval officer and Member of Parliament for Roxburghshire 1832–1835

George Elliot (Royal Navy officer, born 1813) (1813–1901), British naval officer and Member of Parliament for Chatham 1874–1875

Sir George Elliot, 1st Baronet (1814–1893), British businessman and Conservative Member of Parliament 1868–1880, 1886–1892

Sir George Elliot, 2nd Baronet (1844–1895), British businessman and Member of Parliament 1874–1885, 1886–1895

George Fielding Eliot (1894–1971), writer, reporter and military analyst

George Elliot (rugby league) (born 1991), English rugby league footballer

George Elliot (Australian actor), writer/actor in The Crop and former AUSCAR/NASCAR racer

George Elliott

George Elliott may refer to:

George Elliott (Canadian writer) (1923–1996), Canadian short story writer

George Elliott (footballer, born 1889) (1889–1948), Middlesbrough FC football (soccer) player

George Elliott (Canadian politician) (died 1844), politician in Upper Canada

George Elliott (surgeon) (c. 1636–1668), English military doctor

George A. Elliott (born 1945), Canadian mathematician specializing in operator algebra

George F. Elliott (1846–1931), U.S. Marine Corps Commandant

George P. Elliott (1918–1980), American writer

George Elliott (Australian rules footballer) (1885–1917), Australian rules footballer for the Melbourne University Football Club

George Elliott (British politician) (1847–1925), British Member of Parliament for Islington West, 1918–1922

George Adam Elliott (1875–1944), Ontario farmer and political figure

George Elliot (rugby league) (born 1991), English rugby league footballer

George Elliott (cricketer) (1850–1913), English cricketer

George Elliott (bishop) (born 1949), Canadian suffragan bishop

George Henry Lewes

George Henry Lewes ( (listen); 18 April 1817 – 30 November 1878) was an English philosopher and critic of literature and theatre. He was also an amateur physiologist. American feminist Margaret Fuller is known to have called Lewes a "witty, French, flippant sort of man". He became part of the mid-Victorian ferment of ideas which encouraged discussion of Darwinism, positivism, and religious skepticism. However, he is perhaps best known today for having openly lived with Mary Ann Evans, who wrote under the pen name George Eliot, as soulmates whose lives and writings were enriched by their relationship, though they never married each other.


Middlemarch, A Study of Provincial Life is a novel by the English author George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans), first published in eight instalments (volumes) in 1871–72. The novel is set in the fictitious Midlands town of Middlemarch during 1829–32, and follows several distinct, intersecting stories with a large cast of characters. Issues include the status of women, the nature of marriage, idealism, self-interest, religion, hypocrisy, political reform, and education. Despite comic elements, Middlemarch is a work of realism encompassing historical events: the 1832 Reform Act, the beginnings of the railways, and the death of King George IV and succession of his brother, the Duke of Clarence (King William IV). It incorporates contemporary medicine and examines the reactionary views of a settled community facing unwelcome change. Eliot began writing the two pieces that would form Middlemarch in the years 1869–70 and completed the novel in 1871. Although initial reviews were mixed, it is now seen widely as her best work and one of the great novels in English.


Nuneaton () is a town in northern Warwickshire, England. The population in 2011 was 86,552, making it the largest town in Warwickshire.

The author George Eliot was born on a farm on the Arbury Estate just outside Nuneaton in 1819 and lived in the town for much of her early life. Her novel Scenes of Clerical Life (1858) depicts Nuneaton.The Nuneaton built-up area, incorporating Nuneaton and the surrounding urban settlements, including the large villages of Hartshill and Bulkington, had a population of 92,968 at the 2011 census.


Romola (1862–63) is a historical novel by George Eliot set in the fifteenth century, and is "a deep study of life in the city of Florence from an intellectual, artistic, religious, and social point of view". The story takes place amidst actual historical events during the Italian Renaissance, and includes in its plot several notable figures from Florentine history.

The novel first appeared in fourteen parts published in Cornhill Magazine from July 1862 (vol. 6, no. 31) to August 1863 (vol. 8, no. 44), and was first published as a book, in three volumes, by Smith, Elder & Co. in 1863.

Scenes of Clerical Life

Scenes of Clerical Life is the title under which George Eliot's first published work of fiction, a collection of three short stories, was released in book form; it was the first of her works to be released under her famous pseudonym. The stories were first published in Blackwood's Magazine over the course of the year 1857, initially anonymously, before being released as a two-volume set by Blackwood and Sons in January 1858. The three stories are set during the last twenty years of the eighteenth century and the first half of the nineteenth century over a fifty year period. The stories take place in and around the fictional town of Milby in the English Midlands. Each of the Scenes concerns a different Anglican clergyman, but is not necessarily centred upon him. Eliot examines, among other things, the effects of religious reform and the tension between the Established and the Dissenting Churches on the clergymen and their congregations, and draws attention to various social issues, such as poverty, alcoholism, and domestic violence.

Silas Marner

Silas Marner: The Weaver of Raveloe is the third novel by George Eliot, published in 1861. An outwardly simple tale of a linen weaver, it is notable for its strong realism and its sophisticated treatment of a variety of issues ranging from religion to industrialisation to community.

The Fortnightly Review

The Fortnightly Review was one of the most prominent and influential magazines in nineteenth-century England. It was founded in 1865 by Anthony Trollope, Frederic Harrison, Edward Spencer Beesly, and six others with an investment of £9,000; the first edition appeared on 15 May 1865. George Henry Lewes, the partner of George Eliot, was its first editor, followed by John Morley.

The print magazine ceased publication in 1954 and was incorporated into the Contemporary Review.

An online "new series" started to appear in 2009.

The George Eliot School

The George Eliot School is a mixed secondary school located in Nuneaton in the English county of Warwickshire.The school was established in September 1961, and became a foundation school in September 2009 in partnership with North Warwickshire and Hinckley College. In September 2011 the school converted to academy status and is now part of the Midland Academies Trust.The school is named after George Eliot, the pen name of Mary Ann Evans (1819 – 1880). Evans was novelist, journalist and translator who was born in Nuneaton, and is considered to be one of the leading writers of the Victorian era.

The Middle Years (book)

The Middle Years is an incomplete book of autobiography by Henry James, posthumously published in 1917. The book covers the early years of James' residence in Europe and his meetings with writers such as George Eliot, Alfred Tennyson, and James Russell Lowell.

The Mill on the Floss

The Mill on the Floss is a novel by George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans), first published in three volumes in 1860 by William Blackwood. The first American edition was published by Harper & Brothers, Publishers, New York.

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