George Eliot

Easton Press George Eliot books

The Mill on The Floss - 100 Greatest Books Ever Written - 1980
Silas Marner: The Weaver of Raveloe - The Collector's Library of Famous Editions - 1992
Middlemarch, A Study of Provincial Life - 100 Greatest Books Ever Written - 2004
Silas Marner - 100 Greatest Books Ever Written - 2005

Franklin Library George Eliot books

Silas Marner - World's Best Loved Books - 1982
The Mill on The Floss - 100 Greatest Books of All Time - 1982
Scenes of Clerical Life - Collected Stories of the World's Greatest Writers - 1984


Who was George Eliot?

Mary Ann Evans, better known by her pen name George Eliot, was a prominent Victorian novelist and one of the leading literary figures of the 19th century. She was born on November 22, 1819, in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England, and died on December 22, 1880. George Eliot was the daughter of Robert Evans, a land agent, and Christiana Pearson. She received a solid education in her youth, largely due to her father's progressive views on education. However, her formal schooling was cut short when her mother passed away in 1836, and Mary Ann returned home to manage the household. In the 1850s, Mary Ann Evans adopted the pen name George Eliot to ensure her works were taken seriously in a male-dominated literary world. She started her literary career as an editor and translator, contributing essays, reviews, and translations to various publications. Her intelligence, insight, and literary skills gained recognition among her contemporaries.

Eliot's first novel, Adam Bede, was published in 1859 and achieved immediate success. Her novels are known for their psychological insight, realism, and detailed depiction of rural life in England. The Mill on the Floss (1860), Silas Marner (1861), and Middlemarch (1871-72), considered by many as her masterpiece, followed suit. Middlemarch is praised for its complex characters and exploration of social and political issues of the time.

Despite her literary success, George Eliot faced societal prejudices as a woman writing during the Victorian era. Her relationship with George Henry Lewes, a married man whose wife had left him, scandalized society. Eliot and Lewes lived together as a couple, although they could not legally marry. Lewes was a supportive partner, encouraging and advising her throughout her writing career. George Eliot's writing career spanned over two decades, and her novels continue to be widely read and studied for their profound understanding of human nature. After Lewes's death in 1878, Eliot married John Cross, a family friend who was much younger than her. Unfortunately, her marriage to Cross was short-lived, as she passed away from kidney disease in 1880. George Eliot's legacy endures through her insightful novels, which remain relevant and influential in the study of literature. Her works have transcended the constraints of her time, earning her a lasting place in the canon of English literature.


The Mill on The Floss

"If life had no love in it, what else was there for Maggie?" Brought up at Dorlcote Mill, Maggie Tulliver worships her brother Tom and is desperate to win the approval of her parents, but her passionate, wayward nature and her fierce intelligence bring her into constant conflict with her family. As she reaches adulthood, the clash between their expectations and her desires is painfully played out as she finds herself torn between her relationships with three very different men: her proud and stubborn brother, a close friend who is also the son of her family's worst enemy, and a charismatic but dangerous suitor. With its poignant portrayal of sibling relationships, The Mill on the Floss is considered George Eliot's most autobiographical novel; it is also one of her most powerful and moving.

The novel centres on Maggie Tulliver, whose passionate and imaginative nature brings her into conflict with the middle-class narrowness of St Ogg’s and, more poignantly, with her beloved brother Tom. The result is one of George Eliot’s best-loved works containing an affectionate and perceptive study of provincial life, a brilliant evocation of the complexities of human relationships and a heroine whose rebellious spirit closely resembles George Eliot’s own.

Silas Marner - The Weaver of Raveloe

Silas Marner 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.

In this heartwarming classic by George Eliot, a gentle linen weaver named Silas Marner is wrongly accused of theft actually committed by his best friend. Exiling himself to the rustic village of Raveloe, he becomes a lonely recluse. Ultimately, Marner finds spiritual rebirth through his unselfish love of an abandoned child who mysteriously appears one day in his isolated cottage.
Somber, yet hopeful, Eliot's realistic depiction of an irretrievable past, tempered with the magical elements of myth and fairy tale, remains timeless in its understanding of human nature and is beloved by every generation.

Middlemarch - A Study of Provincial Life

George Eliot's (Mary Ann Evans') novel, Middlemarch, explores a fictional nineteenth-century Midlands town in the midst of modern changes. The proposed Reform Bill promises political change; the building of railroads alters both the physical and cultural landscape; new scientific approaches to medicine incite public division; and scandal lurks behind respectability. The quiet drama of ordinary lives and flawed choices are played out in the complexly portrayed central characters of the novel the idealistic Dorothea Brooke; the ambitious Dr. Lydgate; the spendthrift Fred Vincy; and the steadfast Mary Garth. The appearance of two outsiders further disrupts the town's equilibrium Will Ladislaw, the spirited nephew of Dorothea's husband, the Rev. Edward Casaubon, and the sinister John Raffles, who threatens to expose the hidden past of one of the town's elite. Middlemarch displays George Eliot's clear-eyed yet humane understanding of characters caught up in the mysterious unfolding of self-knowledge.

Taking place in the years leading up to the First Reform Bill of 1832, Middlemarch explores nearly every subject of concern to modern life: art, religion, science, politics, self, society, human relationships. Among her characters are some of the most remarkable portraits in English literature: Dorothea Brooke, the heroine, idealistic but naive; Rosamond Vincy, beautiful and egoistic: Edward Casaubon, the dry-as-dust scholar: Tertius Lydgate, the brilliant but morally-flawed physician: the passionate artist Will Ladislaw: and Fred Vincey and Mary Garth, childhood sweethearts whose charming courtship is one of the many humorous elements in the novel's rich comic vein.

Scenes of Clerical Life

George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans) made her fictional debut when Scenes of Clerical Life appeared in 'Blackwood's Magazine' in 1857. These stories contain Eliot's earliest studies of what became enduring themes in her great novels: the impact of religious controversy and social change in provincial life, and the power of love to transform the lives of individual men and women. 'Adam Bede' was soon to appear and bring George Eliot fame and fortune. In the meantime the Scenes won acclaim from a discerning readership including Charles Dickens: ' I hope you will excuse my writing to you to express my admiration...The exquisite truth and delicacy, both of the humour and the pathos of those stories, I have never seen the like of.'

A collection of three stories. 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.


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