Some Aspects
of the Work
of George Eliot

George Eliot 1885-1930
(Mary Anne Evans/ Marian Evans)

Large collection of George Eliot's novels and poems available for free download at (Daniel Dutton)

My knowledge of George Eliot has two strands, first in that she translated Life of Jesus Critically Examined, sometimes called Life of Christ, with later Feuerbach's Essence of Christianity, and then Middlemarch for its social change. I saw the BBC TV series and I remain a bad reader of fiction. I never saw Silas Marner with Ben Kingsley on BBC television, because it looked a bit grim! My interest in her has been mainly as a woman in nineteenth century Britain living unconventionally and revealing impacts of social change.

Main novels

Adam Bede 1859
The Mill on the Floss 1860
Silas Marner 1861
Romola 1862-3
Felix Holt, the Radical 1866
Middlemarch 1871-2
Daniel Deronda 1876

Personal life...

Life of Jesus Critically Examined, was translated by George Eliot, and published in 1846 by John Chapman, who owned the Westminster Review. George Eliot became Chapman's Assistant Editor. She stayed with him and his wife until rumours became too much. She fell in love with Herbert Spencer, who responded little. Then she got closer to G. H. Lewes (1817-1878) who, although already married, lived with her as a couple. He encouraged her work. In 1857 she wrote anonymously for Blackwoods Magazine The Sad Fortunes of the Rev. Amos Barton which showed that her strength was in fiction. John Blackwood thought they were by a man, and so she adopted the name of George Eliot to maintain the fiction (though Charles Dickens realised it was a woman's pen). After Lewes died, she married her sympathetic Financial Advisor, Walter Cross, but she died seven months after the marriage.

In general...




An interpreted summary of points made about Middlemarch in dialogue by Barbara Hardy and David Daiches in Watts Watts, C. (intro.) (1976), The English Novel, Questions in Literature series, London: Sussex Books.

Cupitt, D. (1985), The Sea of Faith: Christianity in Change, London: BBC, 92-96.