Biography of George Eliot


Eliot, George. The nom de plume of Marian Evans, the great English novelist. She was born in Warwickshire, England, November 22, 1819. She received a superior education, and became familiar with Latin, German, and the higher mathematics. In 1844-46 she translated Strauss' "Leben Jesu," and later Spinoza's "Ethics," and other works. In 1851 she became assistant editor of the "Westminster Review." At this time, she first met George Henry Lewes, and with him she formed a connection, only terminated by his death in 1878. Lewes had been married many years, but his wife proved unfaithful. He condoned her offense by taking her back to his home and, when she left him finally, he was unable to secure a divorce under the law of England. Under these circumstances, Lewes and Miss Evans decided to live together.

In 1857 the first of the "Scenes of Clerical Life" appeared in "Blackwood," and in 1858 "Adam Bede" was published. This magnificent piece of work at once placed its author in the front rank of living writers. It was followed in succession by "The Mill on the Floss," "Silas Marner," "Romola," and "Felix Holt," the latter appearing in 1866. George Eliot published her first poem, "The Spanish Gypsy," but neither this nor others which followed proved as successful as her prose writings. "Middlemarch," by many considered as even superior to "Adam Bede," was issued in 1871-72, and about five years later appeared "Daniel Deronda," a much inferior work. Mr. Lewes died in November, 1878, and Miss Evans married on May 6, 1880, a stockbroker named John Cross, a man much younger than herself. Died 1880.