9780815411215 / 0815411219

George Eliot: The Last Victorian


Publisher:Cooper Square Press



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About the book:

From Gordon Haight's scrupulous 1968 work George Eliot through Ruby Redinger's 1976 feminist rethinking George Eliot: The Emergent Self and beyond, the unconventional life and probing fiction of Victorian England's loftiest female author has attracted the scrutiny of numerous biographers. British scholar Kathryn Hughes's pungent account distinguishes itself by limning Mary Ann Evans's turbulent emotions with as much acuity as she does the creative drive that eventually led one of London's most prominent editors and critics to reinvent herself as the novelist George Eliot. Cast out of respectable public life when she moved in with the married George Henry Lewes, Eliot found personal happiness with a man who understood her need for all-consuming love and artistic salvation. Lewes demonstrated his dedication to her by screening Eliot from outside criticism and inner doubts that could have prevented her from writing. Hughes's analysis of their relationship is as sympathetic yet candid as the rest of her narrative. She paints a vivid portrait of Victorian intellectual life and Eliot's provocative role within it as a writer who questioned conventional wisdom of all sorts, but whose heroines ultimately chose lives of modest usefulness within the existing society. As her biographer puts it in a typically well turned phrase, "Eliot's novels show people how they can deal with the pain of being a Victorian by remaining one." --Wendy Smith

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