Fun Facts Friday: George Eliot

George Eliot was the pseudonym of Mary Ann, or Marian, Cross, née Evans (22 November , 1819 .— 22 December, 1880) who was a English Victorian novelist which developed the method of psychological analysis characteristic of modern fiction.

Books by George Eliot*

Books by George Eliot*

  1. Eliot used a man’s nom de plume, starting in 1856, to ensure her works would be taken seriously. During her life, female authors did publish under their own names but were stereotyped as writing romances.
  2. She began her literary career as a translator and essayist.
  3. Author of seven novels: Adam Bede (1859), The Mill on the Floss (1860), Silas Marner (1861), Romola (1862), Felix Holt (1866), Middlemarch (1871) and Daniel Deronda (1874)
  4. After Eliot’s first novel became a big success, several people claimed to have written the novel. Eliot eventually came forward to state that she is the rightful author.
  5. Had a 24 year relationship with philosopher George Lewes, despite him having a wife, which estranged her from her family and caused a public scandal
  6. After Lewes’ death, married John Walter Cross (a businessman and longtime friend 20 years her junior) at age 60
  7. She also had an affair with Herbert Spencer, a famed British philosopher who wrote an essay on the disgust of ugly women after he broke up with her and all of Eliot’s friends knew whom he was writing about.
  8.  Eliot’s scandalous personal life clouded her reputation even after her death. Despite her literary achievements, Eliot was not allowed a memorial stone in Westminster Abbey’s Poets’ Corner. She finally received recognition there in 1980, one hundred years after her death.
  9. Middlemarch has been described as “the greatest novel in the English language”.
  10. Harold Bloom, a literary critic, placed Eliot among the greatest Western writers of all time!

Books by George Eliot*

Zohar – Man of la Book
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account

This post was first published as Fun Facts Friday: George Eliot on 22 November, 2013

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