George Eliot

Mary Ann Evans wanted to escape the stereotype of women’s writing being limited to lighthearted romances. She also wanted to have her fiction judged separately from her widely known work as a translator, editor and critic. Her use of a pen name may also have been a desire to shield her private life from public scrutiny, avoiding the scandal that might have arisen from of her relationship with the married George Henry Lewes.

Lewes met writer Mary Ann Evans in 1851 and by 1854 they had decided to live together. Lewes and his wife Agnes Jervis had agreed to have an open marriage. Jervis had three children with Lewes and four with an unnamed lover . Lewes, having assumed the role of father to all the children, was unable to divorce Jervis but he and Eliot remained together until death.

Eliot was not what society considered beautiful however Henry James is quoted as saying “in her lack of attractiveness resides a powerful beauty which, in a very few minutes, steals forth and charms the mind, so that you end, as I ended, in falling in love with her. Yes, behold me literally in love.” 

Virginia Woolf described Eliot’s novel “Middlemarch ” ( one of approximately 16 novels by Eliot) set in the fictional English town by the same name,  as “one of the few English novels written for grown-up people”  and by Martin Amis and Julian Barnes as the greatest novel in the English language.

George Henry Lewes

Sources:

Britannica.com

Biography of George Eliot

Victorian Women Novelists

107 thoughts on “George Eliot

  1. Thank you Rene for this snapshot of an author I learned about in high school but failed to embrace out of ignorance. I always appreciate these glimpses into the lives of people who gifted the world with their works. To know that behind every book is an even more interesting story about the human condition and how it is expressed in the creator’s life and those drawn to them.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That’s so true Dan, I have read many books knowing little about the author. The backgrounds of these writers are often as or more intriguing and interesting as the works of the novelist. Thank you for the lovely comment.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I knew much of this, young Holly, yet by no means all. As such, you’ve reported the icing on the cake. Morover, all gals, old, young or somewhere in between, are beautiful. A splendid read. My thanks. Regards, The Old Fool

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I thought you were talking about my son, George, just then. Then it dawned upon me my mind had…as it does rather a lot lately…drifted off subject. I think that defines, The Old Fool that I am. Inmportantly, this is a super post. I hope many take time out to read it.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Oh what a lovely and interesting post about a great writer. Thank you dear friend for the enlightenment, much appreciated. If someone is attractive on the outside but there is nothing on the inside to love what is there really. Love and hugs and fairies coming with gifts of jasmine tea to warm you while you work on your beautiful art today. Love ya❤️ Joni

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Such a lovely observation Joni. we are definitely drawn to interesting charismatic individuals, all the beauty in the world won’t hold one’s interest for long if there isn’t something deeper there. Thank you for the lovely tea, it’s certainly welcome today, chilly and cold in Florida. Sending you a hug and mittens 🧤🧤take care dear Joni, love ya too 😊♥️

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh you are so thoughtful dearest friend. I am so glad to hear you liked the tea. Yea, my hug and mittens arrived and I am on cloud nine and your hug was the perfect gift today. I miss hugging folks so much. You know we southern folk like our hugs strong not like those one arm barely touching material we like a squeeze. Thank you so much for that it meant a lot today especially. Love ya back sweet one. 🤗💕❤️🧚🏻🧚‍♀️

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh we southern girls definitely are touchy feelie with hugs kisses. We could take our tea and set under the magnolia tree and talk about the Cicadas! Thank you sweet one. Appreciate your wonderfully inspiring words. 🌺❤️🤗🌼🌹

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Oh that sounds so wonderful to me. We have a big magnolia tree in our yard. I love the Cicadas too. You are the sweetest my friend. I love this lovely picture you painted. Sending southern hugs and kisses. 🤗❤️💕
            Love you Joni

            Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve read very little of her. But I intend to read more. I’m reading Virginia Woolf right now, Mrs. Dallaway. I have a stack of newly published indie books straight off WP on my desk. They are wonderful. It’s so interesting to read books written by our virtual friends. There’s enormous talent right here!

      Liked by 3 people

  4. A brief yet, informative look into a brilliant woman’s life. She was far ahead of her time, and so was George in a way. In some ways they are still ahead of much of toady’s society, which can be narrow in scope.
    Thank you for this moment with one of our brilliant sisters! xoxo

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Oh, it was very rigid for women. Still, there are always exceptions, like George Eliot. There were the Suffragettes, and women like Elinor Glyn (novelist and first female producer in Hollywood). We’ve come a long way, but it’s not over, yet!

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Holly, I am so glad you highlighted her. It is sad to see women not only put down, but prevented from doing the work they love. And, this is well before the suffrage movement. In Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s “Half the sky,” about the maltreatment of women even now, they revealed an interesting point. Not only is treating women and girls like possessions a bad idea from a human perspective, but from an economic perspective, a region, country, community, tribe, etc. is competing in a world with only 1/2 its intellectual capital. How many women were unable to do what Mary Ann Evans did because she masked her gender? Keith

    Liked by 3 people

  6. There has always been a double standard. Women just got the right to vote 70 years ago and had to fight for that.
    I have friends (?) who refused to consider voting fir Obama and Hilary based on race and gender. So thanks to the dying GOP we got a treasonous liar for president who attempted to overthrow our government. Maybe we’ll have a Matriarchal society some day. That should help on a lot if fronts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Holly, as you know, this is why Kamala Harris being inaugurated as VP is a big effing deal. Not only did she break the (long overdue) gender barrier, she is multiracial and her nuclear family is multiracial. She is representative of so many in America. America is well behind other democracies on women leaders. Not only was the former president the most corrupt and deceitful president in my lifetime, he also bragged on sexual misconduct which was pervasive with over 20 accusers. Keith

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m pretty happy about VP Harris. She’s a smart spunky woman. Our former Pres is a perhaps the most dangerous man alive though I haven’t been able to figure out why he’s been allowed to get away with it .

        Like

  7. Wow, such a great historical piece not to be missed. Might we all be loved like this:
    “in her lack of attractiveness resides a powerful beauty which, in a very few minutes, steals forth and charms the mind”, Thanks for sharing Holly! ❤️

    Like

  8. I love this little insight into George Elliot. I actually bought Middlemarxh a few years ago (still unread).
    I out down Mrs Dalloway again! Had I known you were reading it, I’d have persevered!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes thank you Holly I’m well, I hope that you are too? I’m trying to keep myself busy promoting the songs from my album because people stream more now rather than download it takes a lot more work than it did just a four years ago. George and I have empty performance diaries but we’re working hard on our duo in preparation for re-opening 🤞🏻. It makes me very happy to know that you have enjoyed listening, thanks again for your support xx🥰xx

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you very much for your little introduction into George Eliot. We have to admit that we found “Middlemarch” quite a boring text. well, it was written about 50 years before Joyce and Proust wrote their novels.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Keep well
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I will try to find Middlemarch in Gutenberg, apparently It took Eliot five years to complete it. I’m quite disappointed in Mrs. Dallaway by Virginia Woolf after hearing many good reviews. Thanks so much for visiting!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Diana, this little tidbit is interesting. Eliot always referred to herself as Mrs. Lewes on further delving into her story, her family ostracized her, partly playing a role in the pseudo. Hope you are doing great dear Diana!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Dear George Eliot – she certainly embraced life and did not set any limitations on herself as to her creativity. What I found most amazing about her was her courage to challenge conventional thought in religion and philosophy. She met amazing men and women – Robert Owen, Herbert Spencers, Harriet Martineau, Ralph Waldo Emerson. Can you imagine that, at that time, she dared to cast doubt on the literal truth of Biblical texts. YIKES!!! Anyway, I digress…. George Eliot was able to synthesize incredible within a few lines. Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and the one quote that captures the essence of true love is found in these words from George Eliot’s book Adam Bede: “What greater thing is there for two human souls, than to feel that they are joined for life–to strengthen each other in all labor, to rest on each other in all sorrow, to minister to each other in all pain, to be one with each other in silent unspeakable memories at the moment of the last parting?” Another great post, Holly!

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s