George Eliot by Kathleen Adams
|Introduction to the Life and Work of George Eliot, who wrote eight novels, all but one highly acclaimed, which made her famous in her own time. She is still read widely and admired around the world today.
MARY ANN EVANS, later to become George Eliot, was born on 22 November 1819 at Arbury on the outskirts of the small market town of Nuneaton in Warwickshire where her father Robert Evans managed the Newdigate estates. It was a time when England was comparatively peaceful in the last year of the reign of George III, although memories were still fresh of the Battle of Waterloo and the defeat of Napoleon. George Eliot was born into a farming community and her love and knowledge of the countryside stayed with her throughout her life.
Although part of the Victorian age she flouted its conventions: a highly intelligent woman, she was a free-thinker who rejected the formal constraints of religion; she was financially successful and she lived for 24 years with a married man. She led an unconventional life as partner of George Henry Lewes – a relationship that alienated her family – but it gave her the confidence to write fiction. Her style can sometimes be weighty and complex but it is versatile and often full of humour. She wrote eight novels, all but one highly acclaimed, which made her famous in her own time, and she is still read widely and admired around the world today.