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Mary Evans was born in Warwickshire, England, to local mill owners Robert and Christiana Evans in 1819. A voracious reader blessed with the gift of intelligence, the influence of Greek literature was noticeable in her written work. In 1850, she moved to London to make it as a writer. The same year, she became a part of the left-wing journal, The Westminster Review, before gaining promotion to sub-editor in the subsequent year. The life of George Eliot is one of her famous works. Let’s take a deeper dive into her journey.
Transitioning to become a Novelist
It was during her time at The Westminster Review that Ms. Evans wrote an article titled “Silly Novels by Lady Novelists” which was a piece aimed at criticizing & ridiculing the plots written by women in fiction novels at the time. This is the only inspiration that led her to dig deeper into her craft and develop realistic storytelling in her own work. This was the time the adoption of the pen name “George Eliot” took place. Though it was not uncommon for female writers at the time to publish their work under their own name, Ms. Evans felt that adopting a pen name would not limit her to the lighthearted romance genre of writing that female writers at the time were. Furthermore, she believed that adopting a male pseudonym would make people take her seriously.
The most popular literary work of Mary Evans
- Middlemarch, A Study of Provincial Life: One of her best pieces of writing, Middlemarch, was live in 8 volumes between 1871-72. Set in a fictional village in England called Middlemarch, the book revolves around the themes of religion, idealism, and social structures. Middlemarch is well-known as Ms. Evans’ best novel by fans all over the world.
- Silas Marner: First published in 1861, Ms. Evans’ Silas Marner was her third literary venture. Exploring the themes of religious faith in tumultuous times, Silas Marner sheds light on the fictional story of the protagonist who loses faith in God. All of this is due to a betrayal and the despair he faces, and how his faith restores when life starts to turn around for him.
- Adam Bede: Ms. Evans’ first ever book to reach the masses, Adam Bede follows the story of a Carpenter named after the title who courts a girl, only for the girl to have a romantic interest in a soldier. This story of a love triangle explores several complications along the way, including crime, death & heartbreak.
As one of the most accomplished and influential writers of her time, Ms. Evans is also credited with several quotes that continue to provoke thought even to this date. To share the wisdom, some of her most iconic quotes are as follows:
- “Our deeds determine us, as much as we determine our deeds.”
- “It is never too late to be what you might have been.”
- “The strongest principle of growth lies in the human choice. “
- Ms. Mary Evans puts into perspective a dark time for female writers who had to keep a low profile as their male counterparts in the 19th century.
- Ms. Evans’ work has rightfully attained the status of a classic and remains of enormous interest to readers, even to this day.
- Her work is outstanding due to the psychological depth which enlightens each character.
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Q1. When was the publishing of her first book?
Answer: Originally published in 1859, Adam Bede was the first book by Ms. Evans, and had become a mainstay in university education at the time.
Q2. What is her best novel?
Answer: Ms. Evans had her first literary venture in 1859 with the release of Adam Bede. The novel had become a mainstay in university education at the time.
Q3. Have there been adaptations of Ms. Evans’ work on TV & Films?
Answer: There have been several film & TV adaptations of The Mill on The Floss & Middlemarch.