Eliot George 1819 - 1880 (61)

It is never too late to be what you might have been.



George Eliot, alias Mary Ann Evans, (1819-1880) was an important Victorian English writer. She was born on November 22, 1819 in Warwickshire where her father was the manager of the Arbury Hall Estate. Mary had access to the library of the estate and from a young age she read books and learned foreign languages. She was deeply religious like her whole family and found herself under the influence of various evangelists during her childhood. In 1836 her mother died and Mary Ann became the housewife of her house; When she was 21, her brother got married and she and her father moved to Coventry. There she began to associate with people with radical political and religious views. She started questioning her religious beliefs and was driven away from the Anglican Church, that brought her into conflict with her father, but she continued to live with him and take care of him. She met publisher John Chapman, who hired her as a journalist for one of his magazines and commissioned her to translate Strauss's "The Life of Jesus" from German.

In 1851 she met George Henry Lewes, a literary critic and philosopher, they started livning together in 1854. Lewes was married in an open marriage but was unable to obtain a divorce, so living with him as a mistress was a major scandal that broke many of her social and family relationship, with the most painful one, being that of her brother. She was very close to her brother, who he did not talk to her again until the last months of her life. In 1856 Mary wrote an article entitled "Stupid novels by foolish novelists" in which she scolded the women writers of the time for their melodramatics, exaggerations and ignorance of life beyond their secular circle. Shortly afterwards, she began writing her first novel, which she published, like all her other works under the male pseudonym George Eliot.

In 1859 she published the novel Adam Bede, which was very successful and everyone was wondering about the author. Eventually the identity of the author was revealed and many were shocked by her personal life which became a major topic of discussion and criticism. In the following years she wrote 7 more novels that were very successful. In them, Eliot examines social issues with great realism from a philosophical and psychological perspective, analyzing in detail the motives and feelings of her heroes. As Oscar Wilde wrote: Eliot is the embodiment of philosophy in fiction. In her personal life she continued to provoke by living according to her desires and not according to conventions. Lewis died in 1878, and in 1880 she married John Walter Cross, 21 years younger than her. They went on a honeymoon in Venice where her husband fell into a canal and almost drowned; They returned to London where she reunited with her brother, since she was married. She died after 4 months.