Eliot, George. (1819 - 1880).
W o r k
- wrote under the masculine pseudonym to publicly distinguish between the highly moral narrator x the religious sceptic, adulteress (lover of the married George Henry Lewes), and outcast
- avoided outspokenness on faith, feminism, and sexual morality
- employed a patient and tolerant narrative voice of gradual evolution
- demanded an intellectual, emotional, and: moral response from the reader
Adam Bede (1859):
- set in a rural working community in recent past, free of the confusions and contradictions of the industrial and urban present
- advocates the values of an old-fashioned and stratified England held together by religion and class-interdependence
- introduces a new kind of heroism: a heroic uprightness emerging from the condition of ordinary country life
The Mill on the Floss (1860):
- set in the provincial English society
- reinforces family values x but: also stifles bids for personal liberation
Silas Marner (1861):
- a more schematised and optimistic moral fable
x but: explores a series of ethical, social, and spiritual dilemmas
- a historical novel, set in the Renaissance Florence
- the protagonist rejects the narrow obligations of the Church and State
Felix Holt, the Radical (1866):
- a political novel, set in the period of the First Reform Bill (1832)
- explores the conservative fears for the Constitution x limited changes brought by the Reform Bill
Middlemarch (1871 – 1872):
- her masterpiece, set in the period of the First Reform Bill
- interweaves a web of individual destinies, contrasts public x private history, and juxtaposes the historic burden of Rome x the modern history of English
- concerned with women reformers silenced by social conditioning
- conclusion: a woman may produce nameless and not-remembered ‘unhistoric acts’ x but: still contributes to ‘the growing good of the world’
Daniel Deronda (1876):
- an Anglo-Jewish novel, set in the cultivated European world of artists
- contrasts limited English aristocracy x intense Jewish outsiders
(Painting: François D'Albert Durade. 1849. Source: Wikimedia Commons).
AuthorMary Ann Evans. Penname George Eliot. (1819 - 1880). British.
WorkNovelist. Author of Middlemarch (1871 - 1872).
GenresVictorian period. Moralism. Historical novel. Political novel.
Abrams, Meyer Howard, ed. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. New York: W. W. Norton, 1993.
Barnard, Robert. Stručné dějiny anglické literatury. Praha: Brána, 1997.
Baugh, Albert C. ed. A Literary History of England. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1967.
Coote, Stephen. The Penguin Short History of English Literature. London: Penguin, 1993.
Sampson, George. The Concise Cambridge History of English Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1946.
Sanders, Andrew. The Short Oxford History of English Literature. New York: Clarendon Press, 1994.
"Our deeds determine us, as much as we determine our deeds."
From Adam Bede (1859).