The New Student's Reference Work/Eliot, George

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Eliot, George, the name by which the great English novelist, Marian Evans, is known. She was born in Warwickshire, Nov. 22, 1819.


Her father was a man of strong character, and after her mother's death in 1836 Marian took charge of the house. She was well-educated, and was a wide reader. When she was just of age, her father removed to Faleshill Road on the outskirts of Coventry. Here she became acquainted with Charles Bray, the author of several works in philosophy, and formed a close friendship with his wife and her sister and brother, Sarah and Charles Hennell. Through their influence she began to give up her early belief in Christianity. In 1846 she published a translation of the German writer Strauss' Life of Jesus, and she later translated other philosophical works. In 1850 she began to write for the Edinburgh Review, and next year became its assistant-editor. Her first stories, Scenes from Clerical Life, appeared in Blackwoods' Magazine in 1857, and at once gave her a wide reputation. Two years later she published Adam Bede, which fixed her place among the greatest English novelists. This was followed by The Mill on the Floss, Silas Marner, Romola, Felix Holt, Middlemarch and Daniel Deronda. Of her poetry, The Spanish Gypsy and The Legend of Jubal are well-known, though they do not rank with her prose-works. As a novelist George Eliot is specially noted for power in describing the growth of character. Her subjects are all representatives of distinct traits of character. Her first husband, the author G. H. Lewes (q.v.), died in 1878. She married John Cross in 1880, but died December 22nd of the same year. See Life of George Eliot by J. W. Cross and R. H. Hutton's Modern Guides of English Thought.