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About the Author: George Eliot

In 1819, novelist George Eliot (nee Mary Ann Evans), was born at a farmstead in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England, where her father was estate manager. Mary Ann, the youngest child and a favorite of her father's, received a good education for a young woman of her day. Influenced by a favorite governess, she became a religious evangelical as an adolescent. Her first published work was a religious poem. Through a family friend, she was exposed to Charles Hennell's An Inquiry into the Origins of Christianity. Unable to believe, she conscientiously gave up religion and stopped attending church. Her father shunned her, sending the broken-hearted young dependent to live with a sister until she promised to reexamine her feelings. Her intellectual views did not, however, change. She translated David Strauss' Das Leben Jesu, a monumental task, without signing her name to the 1846 work. After her father's death in 1849, Mary Ann traveled, then accepted an unpaid position with The Westminster Review. Despite a heavy workload, she translated Ludwig Feuerbach's The Essence of Christianity, the only book ever published under her real name. That year, the shy, respectable writer scandalized British society by sending notices to friends announcing she had entered a free "union" with George Henry Lewes, editor of The Leader, who was unable to divorce his first wife. They lived harmoniously together for the next 24 years, but suffered social ostracism and financial hardship. She became salaried and began writing essays and reviews for The Westminster Review. Renaming herself "Marian" in private life and adopting the nom de plume "George Eliot," she began her impressive fiction career, including: Adam Bede (1859), The Mill on the Floss (1860), Silas Marner (1861), Romola (1863), and Middlemarch (1871). Themes included her humanist vision and strong heroines. Her poem, "O May I Join the Choir Invisible" expressed her views about non supernatural immortality: "O may I join the choir invisible/ Of those immortal dead who live again/ In minds made better by their presence. . ." D. 1880.

Her 1872 work Middlemarch has been described by Martin Amis and Julian Barnes as the greatest novel in the English language.

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Goodreads rating: 3.82

Paperback, Published in May 1996 by Wordsworth Editions

ISBN10: 1853261769 | ISBN13: 9781853261763

Page count: 707

With an Introduction and Notes by Dr Carole Jones, freelance writer and researcher.

George Eliot's final novel, Daniel Deronda (1876), follows the intertwining lives of the beautiful but spoiled and selfish Gwendolene Harleth and the selfless yet alienated Daniel Deronda, as they search for personal and vocational fulfilment and sympathetic relationship.

Set largely in the degenerate English aristocratic society of the 1860s, Daniel Deronda charts their search for meaningful lives against a background of imperialism, the oppression of women, and racial and religious prejudice. Gwendolen's attempts to escape a sadistic relationship and atone for past actions catalyse her friendship with Deronda, while his search for origins leads him, via Judaism, to a quest for moral growth.

Eliot's radical dual narrative constantly challenges all solutions and ensures that the novel is as controversial now, as when it first appeared.

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