George Eliot was the pen name of Mary Ann Evans, one of the leading English novelists of the 19th century. Her novels, most famously ‘Middlemarch’, are celebrated for their realism and psychological insights.
Considered one of the leading writers of the Victorian era, Eliot is the author of seven novels, including Adam Bede (1859), The Mill on the Floss (1860), Silas Marner (1861), Middlemarch (1871–72), and Daniel Deronda (1876), most of them set in provincial England. She used a male pen name, she said, to ensure her works would be taken seriously. Female authors were published under their own names during Eliot’s life, but she wanted to escape the stereotype of women only writing light-hearted romances. She also wished to have her fiction judged separately from her already extensive and widely known work as an editor and critic.
Readers in the Victorian era particularly praised her books for their depictions of rural society, for which she drew on her own early experiences, and she shared with Wordsworth the belief that there was much interest and importance in the mundane details of ordinary country lives.
Did You Know?
Queen Victoria sought George Eliot’s autograph for her collection.