William Wordsworth from the poem, Michael
Mary Anne Evans was born November 22, 1819 at South Farm on the estate, Arbury Hall, in Warwickshire where her father worked as manager. An avid reader and an intelligent young girl, “Marian” was offered an education that - in combination with her access to the Arbury Hall library – laid a foundation of classical education that found its way into her writing, both in strength and theme.
The pen name, George Eliot, was adopted as a protection for her privacy. During the time that she began publishing, women had begun to write under their own names, but Marian wanted her private life separate and removed from her public life. And there were various personal reasons for that.
George Eliot - a novelist, journalist and translator - published seven novels, all set it provincial England and all deeply concerned with social issues, known for their realism and displaying acute psychological insight. A good example of all of these facets was her third work, Silas Marner.
Published in 1861, the dramatic novel Silas Marner: The Weaver of Raveloe was published under the name of George Eliot and tells the story of a reclusive weaver. In its stark realism, it is thought to strongly represent Eliot’s attitude to religion of the day.
But the truth is, Silas Marner contains all of the makings of a Hollywood thriller – love lost, accusations of murder, robbery, treachery & lies… Or … maybe that is the makings of a film ABOUT Hollywood… Nonetheless, there are no time machines to go back and live life – basic and day-to-day - in a simple English village. But we have novels like Silas Marner to give us a glimpse into the way lives were lived before us.
Jane Austen Tea Society Members – dig up your own English Lit copy of Silas Marner or find a good readable edition in your local bookstore!