BIOGRAPHY OF GEORGE ELIOT
George Eliot was the pen name of Mary Ann Evans, one of the leading English novelists of the 19th century. Her novels, most famously 'Middlemarch', are celebrated for their realism and psychological insights.
George Eliot was born on 22 November 1819 in rural Warwickshire. When her mother died in 1836, Eliot left school to help run her father's household. In 1841, she moved with her father to Coventry and lived with him until his death in 1849. Eliot then travelled in Europe, eventually settling in London.
In 1850, Eliot began contributing to the 'Westminster Review', a leading journal for philosophical radicals, and later became its editor. She was now at the centre of a literary circle through which she met George Henry Lewes, with whom she lived until his death in 1878. Lewes was married and their relationship caused a scandal. Eliot was shunned by friends and family.
Eliot did not publish any novels for some years after Felix Holt, and it might have appeared that her creative thread was gone. After traveling in Spain in 1867, she produced a dramatic poem, The Spanish Gipsy, in the following year, but neither this poem nor the other poems of the period are as good as her nonpoetic writing.
Then in 1871 and 1872 Eliot published her masterpiece, Middlemarch, a broad understanding of human life. The main strand of its complex plot is the familiar Eliot tale of a girl's understanding of life. It tells of her awakening to the many complications involved in a person's life and that she has not used the true religion of God as a guide for how she should live her life. The social setting makes Middlemarch a major account of society at that time as well as a work of art. The title—drawn from the name of the fictional town in which most of the action occurs—and the subtitle, A Study of Provincial Life, suggest that the art of fiction here develops a grasp of the life of human communities, as well as that of individuals.
Eliot's last novel was Daniel Deronda (1874–1876). It is perhaps her least-read work, although recent critical attention has revealed its high value in at least one half of its plot, while raising still unanswered questions about its less successful half. The novel contrasts and interweaves two stories. One is a marriage for personal advantages by a young woman of sharp intelligence who discovers that she has given herself to a cheat. The other story is the discovery by a young British gentleman that he is of Jewish origin. This inspires in him to dedicate and commit his life to furthering the cause of the Jewish community to create a Zionist resettlement in Palestine. The moral relationship of these widely different situations and characters is one of the chief interests of the author, but although her intention is clear, her book and its message is not.
In 1880, after the death of Lewes, Eliot married a friend of long standing, John Walter Cross. She died in London on December 22, 1880, having gained the extreme respect and admiration from her peers and fellow novelists.
Adam Bede, 1859
The Mill on the Floss, 1860
Silas Marner, 1861
Felix Holt, the Radical, 1866
Daniel Deronda, 1876
Brother and Sister, 1869
The Legend of Jubal, 1874
I Grant You Ample Leave, 1874
A Minor Prophet, 1874
A College Breakfast Party, 1879
The Death of Moses, 1879
In a London Drawingroom, 1865
Count That Day Lost
The Choir Invisible, 1867
Digital facsimile of manuscript "Quarry for Middlemarch", MS Lowell 13, Houghton Library, Harvard University
Translation of Das Leben Jesu, kritisch bearbeitet (The Life of Jesus, Critically Examined) Volume 2 by David Strauss, 1846
Translation of Das Wesen des Christentums (The Essence of Christianity) by Ludwig Feuerbach, 1854
"Three Months in Weimar", 1855
"Silly Novels by Lady Novelists", 1856
"The Natural History of German Life", 1856
Scenes of Clerical Life, 1857
The Sad Fortunes of the Rev. Amos Barton
Mr Gilfil's Love Story
The Lifted Veil, 1859
Brother Jacob, 1864
"The Influence of Rationalism", 1865
Impressions of Theophrastus Such, 1879
Review of John Ruskin's Modern Painters in Westminster Review April 1856.