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George Elliot

In: English and Literature

Submitted By tyleradams94
Words 1422
Pages 6
Tyler Adams
Ms. Maher
English 12
3 January 2013
George Eliot
Mary Anne Evans, better known for her pen name George Eliot, was a leading novelist, translator, poet, and religious writer of the Victorian Era. During her lifetime, she was an avid contributor to British Literature. Being a successful writer and poet, as a woman, she worked as an assistant editor at the Westminster Review. She was an inspiration to many people of her time. A quote from Eliot reads, “Starting a long way off the true point by loops and zigzags, we now and then arrive just where we ought to be.” That quote was exactly what she did. She did outrageous things to achieve what she wanted to become. Eliot was a brave, courageous woman who always followed her dreams of becoming a successful writer. George Eliot was a very influential female novelist of her time through her brave steps in becoming one. Mary Anne’s novels have an important impact of the Victorian Era.
The Victorian Era is during Mary Anne’s lifetime. The Victorian Era lasted between 1830 and 1901. Towards the beginning of this era, poetry was strictly based on Romanticism. However, poetry slowly progressed into more narrative stories. As a result, now we have Realism. Most of the literature in the Victorian Era was created mainly for entertainment. It is known for attempting to combine imagination and emotion with classic art forms for the common person. The majority of these novels were published weekly in the newspaper so that everyone can look forward to having a different story every week. Mary Anne’s novels have impacted this era tremendously because she is one of the first writers to change poetry from being mainly about romance to being realist.
On November 22, 1819, Mary Anne Evans was born in the family home, which was called South Farm on the Arbury Estate in Warwickshire, England. She was the youngest child of her father Robert Evans and mother, Christiana Evans. When Mary was a child she went to Chilvers Coton Church with her family and took a great interest in reading, which resulted in her spending much time in the library where she grew up. Her first legitimate education began at a boarding school in 1824. After that, she was enrolled at Mrs. Wallington’s School at Nuneaton. This very school is where Mary started to write stories and poetry. When her mother passed, Mary moved back home to help her family. During those times she really questioned her faith, which made the relationship with her father fall apart. She met two people, Cara and Charles Bray, who were atheists, and she started to read non-religious books. Mary also met John Chapman, a publisher who printed her first translation, Life of Jesus, in 1846.
In 1849, her father died. Mary voyaged with Cara and Charles to Switzerland and Italy. Her father left her a good sum of money to live off of, and with that she wanted to move to London to pursue her dream of becoming a journalist. John Chapman, who was the new owner of the Westminster Review as well as her friend, gave Mary the new assistant editor job. Her strong knowledge in literature, foreign languages, and religious studies helped the Westminster Review. Living in London, Mary was familiar with many known people in the publishing business including George Henry Lewes and Charles Dickens.
At the time, Mary and Lewes had a relationship, where they were more than just friends. He encouraged her to start writing fiction novels under a pen name because back then, woman writers were not taken seriously; it was a male dominated industry. Mary Anne’s first successful writing portion began when she wrote her series in Blackwood’s Magazine, it was called, Scenes of Clerical Life, which was written in 1858. It was a collection of three stores and it came out under her pseudonym, George Eliot.
Soon after writing the three stories, her first novel was released in 1859, which was called Adam Bede. It was an abrupt success. People began to talk a lot about it and they all tried to figure out whom the real author was. The time period when she started to write her own novels was not the best. Like I said before, it was a male dominated occupation. Women were not taken seriously. People just simply thought that all the female writers just wrote about senseless romance and things that could not add up to what men could write about. Likewise, several men claimed to have written the novel. This forced Mary to tell everyone that she was indeed the author. Those events did not stop Mary though. In the same year of 1859, her second novel was released. It was called, The Lifted Veil. The novel focused around what she had to go through as a woman author on her rise to fame because of the triumph of Adam Bede.
The Mill on the Floss, which was written in 1860, was the most autobiographical novel written by her, followed by Silas Marner: the Weaver of Raveloe (1861). The next novel Romola (1862-1863) was a historical novel that she did a lot of research for. Romola was followed by Brother Jacob (1864) and Felix Holt: The Radical (1866), which is a novel based upon politics. She wrote poems as well, including her epic The Spanish Gypsy. 1871 was the year that her most popular novel was published. It was titled Middlemarch. It was an outstanding story that just blew everyone away. Middlemarch is “One of the few English novels written for grown-up people,” Virginia Woolf once said. After Middlemarch came Daniel Deronda in 1876. After Lewes died, Mary began working on her last literary work, which were a collection of essays called, Impressions of Theophras Such.
Mary Anne contributed a lot to British Literature. She made it known that women can contribute to literature, and not just men. When Adam Bede was released, there was a great deal of men claiming that it was their book. The majority of women writers in the Victorian Era wrote about romances, but some of the women such as Mary Anne, is capable of writing so much more than romances. She was the one who made the difference and she was one of the ones who made realism possible. Even though her life as a writer wasn’t very long, she still made an impact. She was such a good writer that she changed the way people write. Overall, Mary proved a point. At one time, Mary was the most talked about and appraised writer; more than the male writers of that time period.
A quote from Evans reads, “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” This goes out to all of the people of her time who wanted to do something but did not have the strength or bravery because of the way things were. Mary Ann Evans really did make a huge impact on everyone during her era. George Eliot became a success. She once said “I'm proof against that word failure. I've seen behind it. The only failure a man ought to fear is failure of cleaving to the purpose he sees to be best.” There is no such thing as failure as long as you are willing to try. Mary Anne Evens never gave up; she chased her dreams until her dreams became a reality.

Works Cited
"Eliot, George (1819-1880)." Encyclopedia of World Biography. Detroit: Gale,1998.Gale Biography In Context. Web. 30 Dec. 2012.

"George Eliot (British Author) : Life with George Henry Lewes." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 30 Dec. 2012.

Liukkonen, Petri. "George Eliot." George Eliot. Books and Writers, 1 Jan. 2008. Web. 30

Dec. 2012.

"George Eliot: An Overview." George Eliot: An Overview. The Victorian Web, 11 Nov.

2012. Web. 30 Dec. 2012.

"Eliot, George." â FactMonster.com. FactMonster, 2011. Web. 30 Dec. 2012.

Cory, Charlotte. "At last, the truth about George; GEORGE ELIOT: THE LAST

VICTORIAN BY KATHRYN HUGHES, FOURTH ESTATE, pounds

20." Independent [London, England] 15 Dec. 1998: 5. Global Issues In Context. Web. 30

Dec. 2012.

Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 366: Orientalist Writers. A Bruccoli

Clark Layman Book. Edited by Coeli Fitzpatrick, Grand Valley State

University, and Dwayne A Tunstall, Grand Valley State University. Gale,

2012. pp. 66-71.

"George Eliot." Enotes.com. Enotes.com, 2012. Web. 30 Dec. 2012.

"George Eliot Quotes." BrainyQuote. Xplore, 2011-2012. Web. 30 Dec. 2012.…...

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