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George Eliot (1819–1880)

Author of Middlemarch

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About the Author

George Eliot was born Mary Ann Evans on a Warwickshire farm in England, where she spent almost all of her early life. She received a modest local education and was particularly influenced by one of her teachers, an extremely religious woman whom the novelist would later use as a model for various show more characters. Eliot read extensively, and was particularly drawn to the romantic poets and German literature. In 1849, after the death of her father, she went to London and became assistant editor of the Westminster Review, a radical magazine. She soon began publishing sketches of country life in London magazines. At about his time Eliot began her lifelong relationship with George Henry Lewes. A married man, Lewes could not marry Eliot, but they lived together until Lewes's death. Eliot's sketches were well received, and soon after she followed with her first novel, Adam Bede (1859). She took the pen name "George Eliot" because she believed the public would take a male author more seriously. Like all of Eliot's best work, The Mill on the Floss (1860), is based in large part on her own life and her relationship with her brother. In it she begins to explore male-female relations and the way people's personalities determine their relationships with others. She returns to this theme in Silas Mariner (1861), in which she examines the changes brought about in life and personality of a miser through the love of a little girl. In 1863, Eliot published Romola. Set against the political intrigue of Florence, Italy, of the 1490's, the book chronicles the spiritual journey of a passionate young woman. Eliot's greatest achievement is almost certainly Middlemarch (1871). Here she paints her most detailed picture of English country life, and explores most deeply the frustrations of an intelligent woman with no outlet for her aspirations. This novel is now regarded as one of the major works of the Victorian era and one of the greatest works of fiction in English. Eliot's last work was Daniel Deronda. In that work, Daniel, the adopted son of an aristocratic Englishman, gradually becomes interested in Jewish culture and then discovers his own Jewish heritage. He eventually goes to live in Palestine. Because of the way in which she explored character and extended the range of subject matter to include simple country life, Eliot is now considered to be a major figure in the development of the novel. She is buried in Highgate Cemetery, North London, England, next to her common-law husband, George Henry Lewes. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: Courtesy of the NYPL Digital Gallery (image use requires permission from the New York Public Library)

Works by George Eliot

Middlemarch (1871) 17,783 copies
Silas Marner (1861) 11,375 copies
The Mill on the Floss (1860) 8,742 copies
Adam Bede (1859) 4,217 copies
Daniel Deronda (1876) 3,759 copies
Romola (1862) 1,458 copies
Felix Holt, the Radical (1866) 1,052 copies
Scenes of Clerical Life (1858) 873 copies
Silas Marner and Two Short Stories (1973) — Author — 299 copies
Selected Essays, Poems and Other Writings (1990) — Translator — 145 copies
Brother Jacob (1878) 142 copies
Middlemarch (1/2) (1893) 115 copies
Middlemarch (2/2) (1872) 74 copies
Collected poems (1989) 66 copies
100 Eternal Masterpieces of Literature - volume 1 (2017) — Contributor — 58 copies
Amos Barton (1857) 49 copies
Mr Gilfil's Love Story (1857) 31 copies
Janet's Repentance (2007) 27 copies
The Spanish Gypsy (2008) 26 copies
Romola / Theophrastus Such (1889) — Author — 21 copies
Adam Bede, Volume 2 of 2 (1999) 20 copies
Romola (1/2) (1892) — Author — 20 copies
How Lisa Loved the King (2010) 17 copies
Adam Bede, Volume 1 of 2 (1900) 17 copies
Romola (2/2) (1887) — Author — 16 copies
The Mill on the Floss (1/2) (1900) — Author — 15 copies
The Mill on the Floss (2/2) (1892) — Author — 14 copies
The Works of George Eliot (2010) 13 copies
Middlemarch (3/3) (2009) — Author — 13 copies
Scenes of Clerical Life (1/2) (2015) — Author — 12 copies
The George Eliot Letters (1954) 10 copies
Romola (1/3) 9 copies
The Poems of George Eliot (1884) 9 copies
Romola / Silas Marner — Author — 9 copies
Felix Holt / Theophrastus Such (1885) — Author — 9 copies
Works of George Eliot (1900) 9 copies
Romola (3/3) 9 copies
Miscellaneous Essays (1901) 9 copies
Essays of George Eliot (1963) 8 copies
Romola (2/3) 8 copies
Tom and Maggie Tulliver (1909) 8 copies
Scenes of Clerical Life (2/2) — Author — 8 copies
Middlemarch (1/3) (2004) — Author — 7 copies
Middlemarch (2/3) (2009) — Author — 7 copies
Adam Bede / The Mill on the Floss / Romola (1893) — Author — 7 copies
Silas Marner / Middlemarch (1964) — Author — 6 copies
Silas Marner (2/2) (2003) 5 copies
Eliot's works 5 copies
Silas Marner / Brother Jacob (1970) — Author — 5 copies
Edward Neville (1995) 4 copies
Silas Marner (1/2) (2003) 4 copies
El molino 3 copies
Middlemarch (Advanced) (1981) 3 copies
George Eliot's Works (1887) 3 copies
The Mill on the Floss / Romola — Author — 3 copies
Felix Holt; Poems (1900) 3 copies
Works 2 copies
The Best of George Eliot (2016) 2 copies
Two Lovers (1909) 2 copies
Theophrastus Such / The Spanish Gypsy — Author — 2 copies
Middlemarch 1 copy
Middlemarch 1 copy
MIDDLEMARCH (1987) 1 copy
Silas Marner 1 copy
Silas Marner (2023) 1 copy
Pendennis Siles Marner (1910) 1 copy
Six Pack 1 copy
Armgart 1 copy
Early essays (1977) 1 copy
Biographie 1 copy
Famous Women 1 copy
Zu Gast in Weimar (2019) 1 copy
Romola , Vol 1 (1900) 1 copy
The Life of Jesus (2010) 1 copy
Romola - Vols 1 & 2 (1900) 1 copy
Golden Grain 1 copy

Associated Works

Little Women (1868) — some editions — 26,578 copies
Ethics (1677) — Translator, some editions — 2,952 copies
One Hundred and One Famous Poems (1916) — Contributor, some editions — 1,955 copies
The Essence of Christianity (1841) — Translator, some editions; Translator, some editions — 895 copies
The Treasure Chest (1932) — Contributor — 260 copies
Atheism: A Reader (2000) — Contributor — 184 copies
The Portable Victorian Reader (1972) — Contributor — 176 copies
Aurora Leigh [Norton Critical Edition] (1996) — Contributor — 173 copies
Erotica: Women's Writing from Sappho to Margaret Atwood (1990) — Contributor — 168 copies
A Literary Christmas: An Anthology (2013) — Contributor — 137 copies
The Penguin Book of Women's Humour (1996) — Contributor — 119 copies
The Life of Jesus Critically Examined (1898) — Translator, some editions; Translator, some editions — 118 copies
The Standard Book of British and American Verse (1932) — Contributor — 116 copies
The Lifted Veil: Women's 19th Century Stories (2005) — Contributor — 114 copies
Great English Short Stories (Dover Thrift Editions) (2005) — Contributor — 39 copies
Silas Marner (Radio Theatre) (2001) — Original novel — 38 copies
Writing Politics: An Anthology (2020) — Contributor — 35 copies
Trial and Error: An Oxford Anthology of Legal Stories (1998) — Contributor — 24 copies
Women on Nature (2021) — Contributor — 23 copies
Nineteenth-Century Women Poets: An Oxford Anthology (1996) — Contributor — 23 copies
Silas Marner [1985 film] (2007) — Original novel — 20 copies
Great English Short Stories (1930) — Contributor — 20 copies
Ghosts and Marvels (1924) — Contributor — 17 copies
Silas Marner | The Pearl (1959) 14 copies
Wings Over the World (1942) — Contributor — 13 copies
An Adult's Garden of Bloomers (1966) — Contributor — 7 copies
Great Love Scenes from Famous Novels (1943) — Contributor — 5 copies
30 Eternal Masterpieces of Humorous Stories (2017) — Contributor — 4 copies
Famous Stories of Five Centuries (1934) — Contributor — 4 copies
The Word Lives On: A Treasury of Spiritual Fiction (1951) — Contributor — 4 copies
A Book of Narratives (1917) — Contributor — 2 copies
A Reader for Writers — Contributor — 2 copies
Maestros Ingleses, Tomo III (1962) — Contributor — 2 copies
Klassisia kauhukertomuksia (2021) — Contributor — 2 copies
Adam Bede: A Play — Author — 1 copy


1001 (329) 1001 books (358) 19th century (2,552) 19th century literature (328) American literature (361) anthology (294) British (967) British literature (1,019) children's (361) Civil War (298) classic (2,788) classic fiction (320) classic literature (421) classics (3,233) ebook (438) England (866) English (526) English literature (1,194) family (507) fiction (8,815) Folio Society (279) George Eliot (525) hardcover (232) historical fiction (509) Kindle (462) literature (2,081) novel (1,827) own (381) philosophy (834) poetry (819) read (720) religion (279) romance (338) sisters (337) to-read (3,621) unread (483) Victorian (1,162) Victorian literature (300) women (313) young adult (268)

Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Eliot, George
Legal name
Evans, Mary Ann
Other names
Evans, Marian
Cross, Mary Anne
Date of death
Burial location
Highgate Cemetery, London, England, UK
Country (for map)
England, UK
Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England, UK
Place of death
London, England, UK
Cause of death
throat infection
Places of residence
Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England, UK
London, England, UK
Mrs. Wallington's School (Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England, UK)
Lewes, George Henry (husband)
Cross, J. W. (husband)
Hennell, Sara (friend)
Spencer, Herbert (friend)
Evans, Gwyn (great-nephew)
Short biography
Mary Ann Evans (22 November 1819 – 22 December 1880; alternatively Mary Anne 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, Adam Bede (1859), The Mill on the Floss (1860), Silas Marner (1861), Romola (1862–63), Felix Holt, the Radical (1866), 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.

Middlemarch has been described by the novelists Martin Amis[3] and Julian Barnes as the greatest novel in the English language. Published under the name J. T. Colgan.



George Eliot and George Henry Lewes in Legacy Libraries (March 2022)
March 2021: George Eliot in Monthly Author Reads (February 2022)
Group Read: Middlemarch, Second Thread in 75 Books Challenge for 2010 (October 2018)
Middlemarch: The Chatty Bits (Spoilers Go Here) in The Green Dragon (March 2015)
Group Read, September 2014: The Mill on the Floss in 1001 Books to read before you die (September 2014)
Middlemarch Group Read 2014 in 75 Books Challenge for 2014 (August 2014)
Middlemarch group read in 2014 Category Challenge (April 2014)
Daniel Deronda in Geeks who love the Classics (April 2013)
Group Read: Middlemarch, Third Thread in 75 Books Challenge for 2010 (February 2011)
Group Read: Middlemarch in 75 Books Challenge for 2010 (November 2010)
***Group Read: Middlemarch Books 7-8 in 1001 Books to read before you die (September 2010)
***Group Read: Middlemarch Books 5-6 in 1001 Books to read before you die (August 2010)
***Group Read: Middlemarch Books 3-4 in 1001 Books to read before you die (August 2010)
***Group Read: Middlemarch Prelude & Books 1-2 in 1001 Books to read before you die (August 2010)
Middlemarch in Victoriana (December 2009)
Middlemarch: Book I in Group Reads - Literature (May 2008)
Middlemarch (Spoilers Here) in Connecticut Nutmeggers (March 2008)
Middlemarch (SPOILER FREE) in Connecticut Nutmeggers (August 2007)


Loved the narration --Nadia May (AKA Wanda McCaddon, Donada Peters)! Loved the story! Wondered if it should be mandatory reading for engaged couples (yes, a bit didactic, but not obnoxiously so).
TraSea | 330 other reviews | Apr 29, 2024 |
I love George Eliot's writing.
This is an 1860 tale with a timeless theme of family loyalty and expectations in a society where being female means being considered inferior to the opposite gender. That's only the beginning of Maggie's challenges.
TraSea | 118 other reviews | Apr 29, 2024 |
After enjoying Middlemarch, I decided to read all 7 of George Eliot's novels. This is the first, written in 1859. This one takes a wee bit of getting used to with the villager's way of speaking. I love Eliot's command of English, her broad breadth of knowledge, and the Spirituality she douses her stories in.
TraSea | 69 other reviews | Apr 29, 2024 |
A landmark book in my reading life. It rumbles away in the background long after the end. George Eliot is an incomparable writer. She was well ahead of the field in the English Novelists Stakes.
A great historical novel about a turbulent time among the Italian states. Soundly researched wherein the reader is left in no doubt about her thoroughness. Expertly plotted, providing tension through 700 pages. I was riveted from the start, just as I was when I read Daniel Deronda.
ivanfranko | 18 other reviews | Apr 14, 2024 |


Europe (1)
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