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LTC Stephen F.
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Thank you my friend SGT (Join to see) for making us aware that on March 21, 1860 English novelist Mary Ann Evans, best known by her pen name, George Eliot finished her novel "The Mill on the Floss" in Wandsworth, London

BBC - The Secret Life of Books Series 2 (2015) Part 3: The Mill on the Floss
Part 3: The Mill on the Floss
Actor and director Fiona Shaw explores the genesis of her all-time favourite book, The Mill on the Floss, and discovers how the scandal that caused George Eliot (born Mary Ann Evans) to take a male pen name was also played out in the plot of her classic novel about a woman's thwarted intellectual ambitions and conflicting sexual desires.

1. English novelist George Eliot [1819-1880]
2. Although she left school at 16, Eliot was able to use the library on the estate her father managed, which helped her self-education
3. Middlemarch was written and published in eight installments, or volumes, beginning in 1871
4. George Henry Lewes

Background from {[https://www.thoughtco.com/george-eliot-life-and-works-738825]}
Born Mary Ann Evans, George Eliot (November 22, 1819 – December 22, 1880) was an English novelist during the Victorian era. Although female authors did not always use pen names in her era, she chose to do so for reasons both personal and professional. Her novels were her best-known works, including Middlemarch, which is often considered among the greatest novels in the English language.

Fast Facts: George Eliot
Full Name: Mary Ann Evans
Also Known As: George Eliot, Marian Evans, Mary Ann Evans Lewes
Known For: English writer
Born: November 22, 1819 in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England
Died: December 22, 1880 in London, England
Parents: Robert Evans and Christiana Evans (née Pearson)
Partners: George Henry Lewes (1854-1878), John Cross (m. 1880)
Education: Mrs. Wallington's, Misses Franklin's, Bedford College
Published Works: The Mill on the Floss (1860), Silas Marner (1861), Romola (1862–1863), Middlemarch (1871–72), Daniel Deronda (1876)
Notable Quote: “It is never too late to be what you might have been.”
Early Life
Eliot was born Mary Ann Evans (sometimes written as Marian) in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England, in 1819. Her father, Robert Evans, was an estate manager for a nearby baronet, and her mother, Christiana, was the daughter of the local mill owner. Robert had been married previously, with two children (a son, also named Robert, and a daughter, Fanny), and Eliot had four full-blooded siblings as well: an older sister, Christiana (known as Chrissey), an older brother, Isaac, and twin younger brothers who died in infancy.

Unusually for a girl of her era and social station, Eliot received a relatively robust education in her early life. She wasn’t considered beautiful, but she did have a strong appetite for learning, and those two things combined led her father to believe that her best chances in life would lie in education, not marriage. From ages five to sixteen, Eliot attended a series of boarding schools for girls, predominantly schools with strong religious overtones (although the specifics of those religious teachings varied). Despite this schooling, her learning was largely self-taught, in great part thanks to her father’s estate management role allowing her access to the estate’s great library. As a result, her writing developed heavy influences from classical literature, as well as from her own observations of socioeconomic stratification.

When Eliot was sixteen, her mother Christiana died, so Eliot returned home to take over the housekeeping role in her family, leaving her education behind except for continued correspondence with one of her teachers, Maria Lewis. For the next five years, she remained largely at home caring for her family, until 1841, when her brother Isaac married, and he and his wife took over the family home. At that point, she and her father moved Foleshill, a town near the city of Coventry.

Joining New Society
The move to Coventry opened new doors for Eliot, both socially and academically. She came into contact with a much more liberal, less religious social circle, including such luminaries as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Harriet Martineau, thanks to her friends, Charles and Cara Bray. Known as the “Rosehill Circle,” named after the Brays’ home, this group of creatives and thinkers espoused rather radical, often agnostic ideas, which opened Eliot’s eyes to new ways of thinking that her highly religious education had not touched on. Her questioning of her faith led to a minor rift between her and her father, who threatened to throw her out of the house, but she quietly carried out superficial religious duties while continuing her new education.

Eliot did return once more to formal education, becoming one of the first graduates of Bedford College, but otherwise largely stuck to keeping house for her father. He died in 1849, when Eliot was thirty. She traveled to Switzerland with the Brays, then stayed there alone for a time, reading and spending time in the countryside. Eventually, she returned to London in 1850, where she was determined to make a career as a writer.

This period in Eliot’s life was also marked by some turmoil in her personal life. She dealt with unrequited feelings for some of her male colleagues, including publisher John Chapman (who was married, in an open relationship, and lived with both his wife and his mistress) and philosopher Herbert Spencer. In 1851, Eliot met George Henry Lewes, a philosopher and literary critic, who became the love of her life. Although he was married, his marriage was an open one (his wife, Agnes Jervis, had an open affair and four children with newspaper editor Thomas Leigh Hunt), and by 1854, he and Eliot had decided to live together. They traveled together to Germany, and, upon their return, considered themselves married in spirit, if not in law; Eliot even began to refer to Lewes as her husband and even legally changed her name to Mary Ann Eliot Lewes after his death. Although affairs were commonplace, the openness of Eliot and Lewes’s relationship caused much moral criticism.

Editorial Work (1850-1856)
The Westminster Review (1850-1856)
The Essence of Christianity (1854, translation)
Ethics (translation completed 1856; published posthumously)
After returning to England from Switzerland in 1850, Eliot began pursuing a writing career in earnest. During her time with the Rosehill Circle, she had met Chapman, and by 1850, he had purchased The Westminster Review. He had published Eliot’s first formal work – a translation of German thinker David Strauss's The Life of Jesus – and he hired her onto the journal’s staff almost immediately after she returned to England.

At first, Eliot was just a writer at the journal, penning articles that were critical of Victorian society and thought. In many of her articles, she advocated for the lower classes and criticized organized religion (in a bit of a turnabout from her early religious education). In 1851, after being at the publication for just one year, she was promoted to assistant editor, but continued writing as well. Although she had plenty of company with female writers, she was an anomaly as a female editor.

Between January 1852 and mid-1854, Eliot essentially served as the de facto editor of the journal. She wrote articles in support of the wave of revolutions that swept Europe in 1848 and advocating for similar but more gradual reforms in England. For the most part, she did the majority of the work of running the publication, from its physical appearance to its content to its business dealings. During this time, she also continued pursuing her interest in theological texts, working on translations of Ludwig Feuerbach’s The Essence of Christianity and of Baruch Spinoza’s Ethics; the latter was not published until after her death.

Early Forays into Fiction (1856-1859)
Scenes of Clerical Life (1857-1858)
The Lifted Veil (1859)
Adam Bede (1859)
During her time editing the Westminster Review, Eliot developed a desire to move into writing novels. One of her last essays for the journal, titled “Silly Novels by Lady Novelists,” laid out her perspective on novels of the time. She criticized the banality of contemporary novels written by women, comparing them unfavorably to the wave of realism sweeping through the continental literary community, which would eventually inspire her own novels.

As she prepared to take the plunge into writing fiction, she chose a masculine pen name: George Eliot, taking Lewes’s first name along with a surname she chose based on its simplicity and appeal to her. She published her first story, “The Sad Fortunes of the Reverend Amos Barton," in 1857 in Blackwood’s Magazine. It would be the first of a trio of stories that eventually were published in 1858 as the two-volume book Scenes of Clerical Life.

Eliot’s identity remained a mystery for the first few years of her career. Scenes of Clerical Life was believed to have been written by a country parson or a wife of a parson. In 1859, she published her first complete novel, Adam Bede. The novel became so popular that even Queen Victoria was a fan, commissioning an artist, Edward Henry Corbould, to paint scenes from the book for her.

Because of the novel’s success, public interest in Eliot’s identity spiked. At one point, a man named Joseph Liggins claimed that he was the real George Eliot. In order to head off more of these imposters and satisfy public curiosity, Eliot revealed herself soon after. Her slightly scandalous private life surprised many, but fortunately, it did not affect the popularity of her work. Lewes supported her financially as well as emotionally, but it would be nearly 20 years before they would be accepted into formal society as a couple.

Popular Novelist and Political Ideas (1860-1876)
The Mill on the Floss (1860)
Silas Marner (1861)
Romola (1863)
Brother Jacob (1864)
"The Influence of Rationalism" (1865)
In a London Drawingroom (1865)
Two Lovers (1866)
Felix Holt, the Radical (1866)
The Choir Invisible (1867)
The Spanish Gypsy (1868)
Agatha (1869)
Brother and Sister (1869)
Armgart (1871)
Middlemarch (1871–1872)
The Legend of Jubal (1874)
I Grant You Ample Leave (1874)
Arion (1874)
A Minor Prophet (1874)
Daniel Deronda (1876)
Impressions of Theophrastus Such (1879)
As Eliot’s popularity grew, she continued working on novels, eventually writing a total of seven. The Mill on the Floss was her next work, published in 1860 and dedicated to Lewes. Over the next few years, she produced more novels: Silas Marner (1861), Romola (1863), and Felix Holt, the Radical (1866). In general, her novels were consistently popular and sold well. She made several attempts at poetry, which were less popular.

Eliot also wrote and spoke openly about political and social issues. Unlike many of her compatriots, she vocally supported the Union cause in the American Civil War, as well as the growing movement for Irish home rule. She was also heavily influenced by the writings of John Stuart Mill, particularly with regards to his support of women’s suffrage and rights. In several letters and other writings, she advocated for equal education and professional opportunities and argued against the idea that women were somehow naturally inferior.

Eliot’s most famous and acclaimed book was written towards the later part of her career. Middlemarch was published in 1871. Covering a wide range of issues, including British electoral reform, the role of women in society, and the class system, it was received with middling reviews in Eliot’s day but today is considered one of the greatest novels in the English language. In 1876, she published her final novel, Daniel Deronda. After that, she retired to Surrey with Lewes. He died two years later, in 1878, and she spent two years editing his final work, Life and Mind. Eliot’s last published work was the semi-fictionalized essay collection Impressions of Theophrastus Such, published in 1879.

Literary Style and Themes
Like many authors, Eliot drew from her own life and observations in her writing. Many of her works depicted rural society, both the positives and the negatives. On the one hand, she believed in the literary worth of even the smallest, most mundane details of ordinary country life, which shows up in the settings of many of her novels, including Middlemarch. She wrote in the realist school of fiction, attempting to depict her subjects as naturally as possible and avoid flowery artifice; she specifically reacted against the feather-light, ornamental, and trite writing style preferred by some of her contemporaries, especially by fellow female authors.

Eliot’s depictions of country life were not all positive, though. Several of her novels, such as Adam Bede and The Mill on the Floss, examine what happens to outsiders in the close-knit rural communities that were so easily admired or even idealized. Her sympathy for the persecuted and marginalized bled into her more overtly political prose, such as Felix Holt, the Radical and Middlemarch, which dealt with the influence of politics on “normal” life and characters.

Because of her Rosehill-era interest in translation, Eliot was gradually influenced by German philosophers. This manifested itself in her novels in a largely humanistic approach to social and religious topics. Her own sense of social alienation due to religious reasons (her dislike of organized religion and her affair with Lewes scandalized the devout in her communities) made its way into her novels as well. Although she retained some of her religiously based ideas (such as the concept of atoning for sin through penance and suffering), her novels reflected her own worldview that was more spiritual or agnostic than traditionally religious.

Lewes’s death devastated Eliot, but she found companionship with John Walter Cross, a Scottish commission agent. He was 20 years younger than her, which led to some scandal when they married in May 1880. Cross was not mentally well, however, and jumped from their hotel balcony into the Grand Canal while they were on their honeymoon in Venice. He survived and returned with Eliot to England.

She had been suffering from kidney disease for several years, and that, combined with a throat infection she contracted in late 1880, proved too much for her health. George Eliot died on December 21, 1880; she was 61 years old. Despite her status, she was not buried alongside other literary luminaries at Westminster Abbey because of her vocal opinions against organized religion and her long-term, adulterous affair with Lewes. Instead, she was buried in an area of Highgate Cemetery reserved for the more controversial members of society, next to Lewes. On the 100th anniversary of her death, a stone was placed in the Poets’ Corner of Westminster Abbey in her honor.

In the years immediately following her death, Eliot’s legacy was more complicated. The scandal of her long-term relationship with Lewes had not entirely faded (as demonstrated by her exclusion from the Abbey), and yet on the other hand, critics including Nietzsche, criticized her remaining religious beliefs and how they impacted her moral stances in her writing. Soon after her death, Cross wrote a poorly received biography of Eliot that portrayed her as nearly saintly. This obviously fawning (and false) portrayal contributed to a decline in sales and interest in Eliot’s books and life.
In later years, however, Eliot returned to prominence thanks to the interest of a number of scholars and writers, including Virginia Woolf. Middlemarch, in particular, regained prominence and eventually became widely acknowledged as one of the greatest works of English literature. Eliot’s work is widely read and studied, and her works have been adapted for film, television, and theater on numerous occasions.

• Ashton, Rosemary. George Eliot: A Life. London: Penguin, 1997.
• Haight, Gordon S. George Eliot: A Biography. New York: Oxford University Press, 1968.
• Henry, Nancy, The Life of George Eliot: A Critical Biography, Wiley-Blackwell, 2012.

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LTC Stephen F.
LTC Stephen F.
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An introduction to the life and works of George Eliot, the major Victorian novelist.

1. One of the reasons Eliot used a pen name was to protect her private life from the public eye – as well as to ensure her work was taken seriously.
2. Mary Ann Evans as a young woman, before she was known as George Eliot.
3. George Eliot with her hair down besides her bed
4. George Eliot, by Caroline Bray, 1842.

Background from {[ https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20191119-george-eliot-radical-writer-novels]}
A woman sits engrossed in her reading, long hair hanging loose at her shoulders, feet slung over the arm of a chair. However you imagine George Eliot, it’s probably not like this. The few existing portraits of the novelist fix her in an era far removed from our own, conveying an ethereal gravity that jives with the reverential image peddled after her death in 1880. It was thanks largely to a capacious biography by her financial advisor and, briefly, husband, John Cross that Eliot came to be posthumously lauded as what literary biographer Lyndall Gordon dubs a “wise angel”, one whose shadow would for a long time obscure the earthier, more radical aspects of her personality and experience. Yet for her fellow writer and sometime housemate, William Hale White, she remained fixed in his memory as the kind of woman who thought nothing of assuming that most un-Victorian of poses. “She was really one of the most sceptical, unusual creatures I ever knew,” he recalled, describing her sitting in this way and calling her an “insurgent” writer.
On the bicentenary of her birth, White’s impressions serve as a reminder that while her novels are enduringly essential, certain aspects of Eliot’s life – its challenges, its scandals, its joys – convey equally timeless wisdom. In her fiction, she gave us unforgettable female characters whose travails continue to inform readers about ambition, love, and the importance of resisting convention; through her life, she teaches us about daring to grasp happiness even when it comes at a cost, about staying true to yourself and believing that it’s never too late – and about the importance of an open mind.

She was born Mary Ann Evans on 22 November 1819, the youngest child of a mill owner’s daughter and the manager of the Arbury Hall Estate in Warwickshire. Home was Griff House in the countryside close to Nuneaton, though she was sent to boarding school at just five years old. Following her mother’s death, she left education to become her father’s housekeeper at the age of 16, and at 21, moved with him to Coventry. It was his belief that she needed to marry but she was instead taken under the wing of Charles and Cara Bray, whose house, Rosehill, was a hub of radical views, and whose guests included Ralph Waldo Emerson. Through the friendship and support of the Rosehill circle, she began to feel her way into a life very different from anything she’d been schooled to imagine. Higher education for women was still decades off, but translation was one entry point into intellectual society, and she began translating works of liberal theology and writing book reviews.

Challenging convention
In 1850, by which time she was signing herself ‘Marian’ Evans, she moved to London, lodging on the Strand in the home of publisher John Chapman. Complications ensued – there was a flirtation, possibly more, between Eliot and Chapman, who was already living in a ménage-à-trois with his wife and the governess of his children. This doomed attachment was followed by another, to polymath Herbert Spencer, whose works, including The Synthetic Philosophy, collectively sold around a million copies.

As they spent more and more time together platonically, Spencer feared that Eliot might fall in love with him – conceited, perhaps, but then that’s exactly what happened. Understanding that he would never feel the same way (she frequently sent up her own supposedly uncomely visage in youthful letters), she nevertheless proposed to him, hoping that their intellectual companionship might be enough. The pluck that this took is matched only by her subsequent determination, once spurned, to maintain the friendship.
That period of Eliot’s life, when she was a social outcast, became her most productive
Eventually, she fell for another writer, George Henry Lewes. Urbane and famously ugly, he was trapped in a marriage to a wife who’d long been the lover of another man and had even borne children by him. Yet it was Eliot who truly scandalised society when she decided to openly cohabit with the still-married Lewes. So lurid was the moral stain that Eliot couldn’t risk seeing female friends without tarring their reputations by association. Her bravery should not be underestimated: without the legal protection of marriage, the danger of being abandoned was great.

It was by all accounts a harmonious, productive union of minds and temperaments. Judging from comments made to the artist Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon, Eliot was quite satisfied with the physical side of her relationship, too. (As Lena Dunham jubilantly tweeted of the author’s Wikipedia entry in 2013: “she was ugly AND horny!”)
That period of Eliot’s life, when she was a social outcast, became her most productive. It’s delved into deeply in Kathy O’Shaughnessy’s newly published debut novel, In Love with George Eliot. The title is instructive. Eliot aficionados may not engage in the same fancy-dress shenanigans as Janeites, but her work nevertheless has an intense impact on its fans.

As New Yorker journalist Rebecca Mead wrote in her own lucid biblio-memoir, The Road to Middlemarch: My Life with George Eliot, “There are books that seem to comprehend us just as much as we understand them, or even more.” Ever since Mead read it as a teenager, Middlemarch has been just such a book, and it’s the same for O’Shaughnessy, who explains: “To this day I recall breaking up with a boyfriend, and feeling terrible and very alone, and the way Eliot’s voice in that book kept me company. She was, I felt, understanding and sympathetic – as no one in life had yet been.”
It was through her writing that Eliot would slowly reclaim her reputation. In 1857, she published her first fiction in Blackwood’s Magazine, using the now-famous male nom de plume by which she’s remembered, and which would stick even after her cover was blown.

Cult fiction
Then, in the year she turned 40, she published Adam Bede, her first novel and a bestseller – even Queen Victoria was a fan. It was followed immediately by The Mill on the Floss, whose restless, defiant protagonist Maggie Tulliver became a cult figure for women in the 1860s, Emily Dickinson and Henry James’s niece among them.

For O’Shaughnessy, Eliot’s life and work embody two contradictory traits: her ability to think and act for herself to an unusual degree, and her sensitivity to the world’s opinion. That last characteristic ties in with the explanation Gordon conjures up for Eliot’s decision to style herself “Mrs Lewes”. She may have rebelled against society, but she still had a very human need for acceptance. An awareness of that quality in herself in turn fed a dislike of righteous judgement, which is what O’Shaughnessy found most relatable about Eliot when she began researching her own novel. “To me, the roots of her stories have to do with the fundamental need of each human being to try to understand with and sympathise with other human beings; to avoid the easy habit of condemnation from a height – as in, ‘There but for the grace of God go I’ – is part of her giftedness,” she says. It’s notable that Eliot seemed unfazed by the set-up chez Chapman, and that as a reader of Charlotte Brontë, she took a dim view of Jane Eyre’s refusal to live with Mr Rochester while his insane wife was still alive.
Yes, she became a genius, but her life was a willed act of becoming, lived in response to a question that had barely begun to be asked: what can a woman be?
It’s perhaps not surprising that having shocked society by not marrying Lewes, in 1880 she went on to cause a second scandal (and baffle future scholars), this time by marrying. She was by then 60, and Lewes had been dead little more than 18 months. Her husband, John Walter Cross, was her friend and financial advisor. He was also 20 years her junior. This fact, coupled with a peculiar incident on their Venetian honeymoon, when Cross leapt from a window into the Grand Canal, has given rise to all manner of pruriently Freudian theories. In the end, their marriage was cut starkly short by Eliot’s death in December of that year.
Eliot’s novels will always be her single greatest achievement, and they stand independent of the passion and pain that nourished them and marked her days. All the same, it’s impossible to overstate the tenacity and sheer nerve required to transform herself from her father’s provincial ‘little wench’ to a leading urban intellectual – and this at a time when feminine ambition was so circumscribed by gender, never mind the headaches, insecurity and depression that dogged her. Yes, she became a genius, but her life was a willed act of becoming, lived in response to a question that had barely begun to be asked: what can a woman be? There was joy to her grit, too. She once assured White that it was worth learning French if only to read one book, Rousseau’s Confessions. As O’Shaughnessy says, one of the most important lessons to take from Eliot’s life is this: “To keep up one’s interest in the world and in people through knowledge, reading and study, and understanding, friendship and love”.

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'George Eliot, ‘structures of feeling’ and the changing map of English Literature'

1. George Eliot & George Henry Lewes
2. George Eliot 'Blessed is the influence of one true loving soul for one another
3. A memorial marks George Eliot's grave in Highgate Cemetery in London..
4. George Eliot 'What do we live for, if not to make life kess difficult for each other.'

Background from {[http://writersinspire.org/content/george-eliot-0]}
George Eliot is the pseudonym created in 1857 by the aspiring writer Marian Evans. In a letter to her publisher William Blackwood, Evans suggested that the name George Eliot should be assigned to her work in place of her own. The male name was created partly to conceal the gender of the author, and partly to disguise her irregular social position, living as an unmarried woman with a married man. Eliot assured Blackwood - who was at that time unaware of her true identity - that the pen name was necessary to employ 'as a tub to throw to the whale in case of curious enquiries'.

The name George Eliot was used to publish all of her fictional work and ensured that Eliot's novels were taken seriously. Unlike Charlotte Brontë's pen name Currer Bell, which has fallen into disuse, the name George Eliot is still employed today to identify one of the most influential novelists of the Victorian era.

Born Mary Anne Evans on 22nd November 1819 to the second wife of Robert Evans, estate manager for the Newdigate family of Arbury Hall in Warwickshire, Mary Anne spent much of her young life in this rural part of England, a childhood which clearly influenced her 1860 novel The Mill on the Floss. A clever and studious pupil, she was allowed to browse in the grand library at Arbury Hall, and in doing so, noticed the disparity between the luxurious life of the family and the tenants living and working on their estate.

In her semi-autobiographical sketch, 'Looking backward' from Impressions of Theophrastus Such (1879) Eliot describes her native county as 'fat central England'. She alludes to the influence of her rural upbringing, which appears to still resonate within her educated and experienced adult mind:

'Our vision, both real and ideal, has since then been filled with far other scenes: among eternal snows and stupendous sun-scorched monuments of departed empires; within the scent of the long orange-groves; and where the temple of Neptune looks out over the siren-haunted sea. But my eyes at least have kept their early affectionate joy in our native landscape, which is one deep root of our national life and language'.

Formidably intelligent and knowledgeable across a range of subjects: Mary Anne was able to speak several languages including German, Hebrew, and Greek, she translated two books into English that were central to the rejection of Christianity by the intellectual avant-garde: David Friedrich Strauss' Life of Jesus (1846) and Ludwig Feuerbach's The Essence of Christianity (1854). These translations lead to Eliot's atheism and her eventual renunciation of the Christian faith.

In 1851, following the death of her father and the subsequent inheritance of enough money to encourage her to live independently from her family, Mary Anne moved to London to pursue a career in journalism. A momentous decision on her part, the transition was accompanied by a change of name. She now called herself Marian Evans, and took lodgings in the Strand, the home and workplace of the political publisher John Chapman.

Her position as a single, working woman was highly unusual. On 4 May 1851, Chapman held a meeting to protest against the Booksellers' Association, a group of larger publishers which fixed the price of books, prohibiting small publishers like Chapman from offering discounts. In one of her letters to the Bray family, Marian wrote a lively account describing how Charles Dickens took the chair with 'a courteous neutrality of eyebrow, and speaking with clearness and decision'. Many famous liberals and distinguished men were there: Herbert Spencer, George Henry Lewes (Marian's future lover), and Wilkie Collins to name but a few. Marian Evans was the only woman present.

In 1854, she scandalised Victorian society by traveling with the married Lewes to Weimar, accompanying him whilst he undertook research for his biography of Goethe. She and Lewes were now living together openly, and, though they remained unmarried, Marian started using Lewes' name, calling herself Marian Evans Lewes. Lewes would remain highly influential throughout Marian's literary career; he persuaded her to try writing fiction, and he sent her first manuscript 'Amos Barton' to John Blackwood, claiming it was written by a 'shy, ambitious friend'.

Her first full-length novel, Adam Bede (1859) was an instant success, bringing wealth to Marian and turning George Eliot into a household name. She became a best-selling author and her fame grew with each publication. One of the most remarkable signs of George Eliot's eminence in the Victorian period was her ability to sell poetry: 'The Spanish Gypsy' had sold over 4,000 copies by the time of its fifth edition in 1875, far surpassing Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Aurora Leigh.

In June 1859, Eliot's disguise was removed. Although the public were initially shocked to discover that one of their greatest writers was Marian Evans - a woman in a compromising social position - her novels continued to sell in huge numbers. Her popularity was so great that she and Lewes were invited to social events and dinners despite their unmarried status. George Eliot was even said to be a favourite novelist of Queen Victoria.

Just two years after the publication of Daniel Deronda, Lewes died on 30 November 1878, aged sixty-one. Marian was too distraught to attend his funeral. Devastated and bereft at the loss of Lewes, she filled her journal with verses from Tennyson's poem of mourning, 'In Memoriam' (1850), as Queen Victoria had also done after the death of Prince Albert. For months, Marian could not bear to see anyone except Lewes's one remaining son Charles, and the couple's mutual friend John Walter Cross.

Marian, still upset over the death of Lewes, married Cross in 1880 despite being twenty years his senior. She reverted to her childhood name, calling herself Mary Anne Cross. However, her new-found happiness was short-lived: Cross fell - or jumped - from their hotel balcony over looking the Grand Canal in Venice. His fall started vicious gossip back in England which speculated over the cause of his apparent depression.

The Crosses returned to England at the end of July, and on the 3 December 1880, moved into their magnificent new house on the banks of the Thames. Nineteen days later on 22 December, Mary Anne was to die from kidney failure. Due to her unconventional lifestyle and atheist principles, she was refused interment at Westminster Abbey. Instead, she was buried alongside Lewes at Highgate Cemetery, but in 1980, 100 years after her death, a plaque was erected in Poets' Corner in recognition of George Eliot's literary achievements and lasting reputation.

Chronology of Eliot's major work
• 1857 Scenes of a Clerical Life
• 1859 Adam Bede
• 1859 Novella The Lifted Veil
• 1860 The Mill on the Floss
• 1861 Silas Marner
• 1862-1865 Romola published in Cornhill Magazine
• 1866 Felix Holt the Radical
• 1868 'The Spanish Gypsy'
• 1871-72 Middlemarch
• 1876 Daniel Deronda

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1SG Steven Imerman
Middlemarch is one of the best books I've ever had the pleasure to read.
LTC Stephen F.
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Since you mentioned you enjoy Middlemarch, my friend 1SG Steven Imerman
Middlemarch (In Our Time)
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss what Virginia Woolf called 'one of the few English novels written for grown-up people'. It was written by George Eliot, the pen name of Mary Anne Evans (1819-80), published in 8 parts in 1871-72, and was originally two separate stories which became woven together. One, 'Middlemarch', focused on a doctor, Tertius Lydgate and the other, 'Miss Brooke', on Dorothea Brooke who became the central figure in the finished work. The events are set in a small town in the Midlands, surrounded by farmland, leading up to the Reform Act 1832, and the novel explores the potential to change in matters of religion, social status, marriage and politics, and is particularly concerned with the opportunities available to women to lead fulfilling lives. The image above shows Rufus Sewell and Juliet Aubrey in the BBC adaptation, from 1994 With Rosemary Ashton Emeritus Quain Professor of English Language and Literature at University College London Kathryn Hughes Professor of Life Writing at the University of East Anglia And John Bowen Professor of Nineteenth-Century Literature at the University of York Producer: Simon Tillotson.
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Lt Col John (Jack) Christensen
Know the author but never read that particular book that I can recall. Will have to look for it, thanks.
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