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Cross, George was Lewes's forename, and Eliot was "a good mouth-filling, easily pronounced word" [19]. Evans's first complete novel, published in , was Adam Bede.


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This public interest subsequently led to Marian Evans Lewes's acknowledgment that it was she who stood behind the pseudonym George Eliot. The revelations about Eliot's private life surprised and shocked many of her admiring readers, but this did not affect her popularity as a novelist. Her relationship with Lewes afforded her the encouragement and stability she needed to write fiction, but it would be some time before the couple were accepted into polite society.

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Acceptance was finally confirmed in when they were introduced to Princess Louise , the daughter of Queen Victoria. The queen herself was an avid reader of all of Eliot's novels and was so impressed with Adam Bede that she commissioned the artist Edward Henry Corbould to paint scenes from the book. When the American Civil War broke out, Eliot expressed sympathy with the North , which was a rare stance in England at the time. She was influenced by the writings of John Stuart Mill and read all of his major works as they were published.

After the success of Adam Bede , Eliot continued to write popular novels for the next fifteen years.


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Her last novel was Daniel Deronda , published in , after which she and Lewes moved to Witley , Surrey. By this time Lewes's health was failing, and he died two years later, on 30 November Eliot spent the next two years editing Lewes's final work, Life and Mind , for publication, and found solace and companionship with John Walter Cross, a Scottish commission agent [24] 20 years her junior, whose mother had recently died. While the marriage courted some controversy due to the difference in ages, it pleased her brother Isaac, who had broken off relations with her when she had begun to live with Lewes, and now sent congratulations.

While the couple were honeymooning in Venice , Cross, in a fit of depression, jumped from the hotel balcony into the Grand Canal.

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He survived, and the newlyweds returned to England. They moved to a new house in Chelsea, but Eliot fell ill with a throat infection. This, coupled with the kidney disease with which she had been afflicted for several years, led to her death on 22 December at the age of Eliot was not buried in Westminster Abbey because of her denial of the Christian faith and her adulterous affair with Lewes.

She was buried in Highgate Cemetery East , Highgate, London, in the area reserved for societal outcasts, religious dissenters and agnostics, beside the love of her life, George Henry Lewes. The graves of Karl Marx and her friend Herbert Spencer are nearby.


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Several landmarks in her birthplace of Nuneaton are named in her honour. Throughout her career, Eliot wrote with a politically astute pen.

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Felix Holt, the Radical and The Legend of Jubal were overtly political, and political crisis is at the heart of Middlemarch , in which she presents the stories of a number of inhabitants of a small English town on the eve of the Reform Bill of ; the novel is notable for its deep psychological insight and sophisticated character portraits.

The roots of her realist philosophy can be found in her review of John Ruskin 's Modern Painters in Westminster Review in Readers in the Victorian era praised her novels for their depictions of rural society. Much of the material for her prose was drawn from her own experience. She shared with Wordsworth the belief that there was much value and beauty to be found in the mundane details of ordinary country life.

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Eliot did not, however, confine herself to stories of the English countryside. Romola , an historical novel set in late fifteenth century Florence , was based on the life of the Italian priest Girolamo Savonarola. In The Spanish Gypsy , Eliot made a foray into verse, but her poetry's initial popularity has not endured. Elements from these works show up in her fiction, much of which is written with her trademark sense of agnostic humanism. The religious elements in her fiction also owe much to her upbringing, with the experiences of Maggie Tulliver from The Mill on the Floss sharing many similarities with the young Mary Ann Evans.

Eliot also faced a quandary similar to that of Silas Marner, whose alienation from the church simultaneously meant his alienation from society. She was at her most autobiographical in Looking Backwards , part of her final published work Impressions of Theophrastus Such.

By the time of Daniel Deronda , Eliot's sales were falling off, and she had faded from public view to some degree. This was not helped by the posthumous biography written by her husband, which portrayed a wonderful, almost saintly, woman totally at odds with the scandalous life people knew she had led. In the 20th century she was championed by a new breed of critics, most notably by Virginia Woolf , who called Middlemarch "one of the few English novels written for grown-up people".

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Not to be confused with the American poet T. For other people titled George Eliot, see George Eliot disambiguation. John Cross m.

George Eliot: Voice of a Century. Norton, Martin Amis and the sex war , The Times , 24 January , p. The Paris Review Winter Create Profile.

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Peter Lang. Search Close. Advanced Search Help. Show Less Restricted access. To her millions of readers, the identity of Mary Anne Evans a name that changed many times during the course of her life appears both tantalisingly close but also beyond reach. But how did Eliot's life, both as a private individual and a public author, inform her art? This module attempts at least a partial answer: through a detailed engagement with her fiction and biography.