Selected Essays, Poems and Other Writings

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Penguin Books Limited, 1990 - Fiction - 505 pages
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The works assembled here introduce George Eliot's incisive views on religion, art, and science, and the nature and purpose of fiction. Essays show her rejecting her earlier religious beliefs, questioning conventional ideas about female virtues and marriage, and setting out theories of idealism and realism that she developed further in her famous novels. Also included are selections from Eliot's translations of works by Strauss and Feuerbach, excerpts from her poems, and reviews of writers such as Wollstonecraft, Goethe, and Browning. Wonderfully rich in imagery and observations, these pieces reveal the intellectual development of this most rewarding of writers.

  • Available again—the first paperback collection of Eliot's nonfiction
  • Introduction by A.S. Byatt discusses Eliot's literary place in Victorian London and the views expounded in these writings

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About the author (1990)

George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans Cross) was born on November 22, 1819 at Arbury Farm, Warwickshire, England. She received an ordinary education and, upon leaving school at the age of sixteen, embarked on a program of independent study to further her intellectual growth. In 1841 she moved with her father to Coventry, where the influences of “skeptics and rationalists” swayed her from an intense religious devoutness to an eventual break with the church. The death of her father in 1849 left her with a small legacy and the freedom to pursue her literary inclinations. In 1851 she became the assistant editor of the Westminster Review, a position she held for three years. In 1854 came the fated meeting with George Henry Lewes, the gifted editor of The Leader, who was to become her adviser and companion for the next twenty-four years. Her first book, Scenes of a Clerical Life (1858), was followed by Adam Bede (1859), The Mill on the Floss (1860), Silas Marner (1861), and Middlemarch (1872). The death of Lewes, in 1878, left her stricken and lonely. On May 6, 1880, she married John Cross, a friend of long standing, and after a brief illness she died on December 22 of that year, in London.

A. S. Byatt, novelist, short-story writer, and critic, is the author of many books, including Possession, winner of the Man Booker Prize.


Nicholas Warren was educated at the University of Leicester.

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