Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Book Review

George Eliot in LoveGeorge Eliot in Love by Brenda Maddox

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In today's culture, a woman author living with a married man would be hardly noticed. In 1850s' England, however, it was scandalous. Mary Ann Evans became the author George Eliot under the encouragement and guidance of her soul mate Henry George Lewes and lived with him for 25 years. Their love and devotion was perfectly matched in one another, although he had a wife and children. His wife, Agnes, bore children with someone else. It is the stuff of a good soap opera.

Most women writers of that time wrote under an assumed name to allow their work to be more widely accepted. Mary Ann Evans wrote a number of books, many of which have become classics. Her lengthy novel, Middlemarch is an almost perfect vision of English small town life. Mill on the Floss and Daniel Deronda are others. She researched extensively, as it shows in the accuracy and detail in her writings.

Although afflicted with ill health throughout her life, she continued to write until the death of her love, Mr. Lewes. She then married a man 20 years her junior, but died less than a year later.

This is a interesting look into a life quite out of the norm for the times.

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