George Eliot

George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans) | First Editions

1819 - 1880

Mary Ann Evans (22 November 1819 – 22 December 1880), known by her pen name George Eliot, was an English novelist, poet, journalist, translator, and one of the leading writers of the Victorian era. She is the author of seven novels, including Adam Bede (1859), The Mill on the Floss (1860), Silas Marner (1861), Felix Holt, The Radical (1866), Middlemarch (1871–72), and Daniel Deronda (1876). Most of her novels are set in provincial England, and are loved for their realism and psychological insight. Like many female writers in this period, Evans used a male pseudonym to ensure her work was taken seriously; moreover, she wanted to escape the stereotype of women only writing lighthearted romance novels.

Her 1872 work Middlemarch has been described by Martin Amis and Julian Barnes as the greatest novel in the English language. 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". Twentieth-century literary critic Harold Bloom placed Eliot among the greatest Western writers of all time. The various film and television adaptations of Eliot's books have re-introduced her to the wider reading public.

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