I love the story of George Eliot (aka Mary Ann Evans) for many reasons, but mostly because she was born into and lived under, circumstances where she felt trapped and seemingly unable to become the person/writer she wanted to be. However, she found a way. Her situation must have been hopeless and she surely must have felt totally powerless against the push of society and all of its expectations. But this amazingly strong and resourceful woman found a way. She created a male persona and identity that allowed her to write in the manner she knew she was capable of to become the writer she was meant to be.
This is why I chose her as a figurehead of my website and a representation of what I aim to help others to achieve.
George Eliot was an English novelist (born in 1819), poet, journalist, as well as a translator. Her real name was Mary Ann Evans but she used a male pen name, as female authors were believed to be writing only lighthearted novels in those days and she wanted to be taken seriously as well as break that stereotype. She authored seven novels, known for their realism and psychological insight. Her books were mainly appreciated for their descriptions of rural society, and she believed that there was much interest and importance in the mundane details of ordinary country lives. She is best remembered for ‘Middlemarch’, which was not just her masterpiece, but also one of the greatest novels in the history of English fiction. She worked as a translator as well, which exposed her to various German religious, social and philosophical texts, elements of which shown up in her fiction. She was not religious, but she held the belief that religious beliefs and tradition maintained a social order and morality. Eliot has been placed by literary critic Harold Bloom as one of the greatest writers of the West. Her books have also been adapted into various films and television programs.
This was a time when women writers were unheard of or ridiculed. This was a time when women couldn’t be smart, hell, most women didn’t even know how to read back then. If she were to publish a book under a female name not only would she probably not have sold many copies, but she and her family probably would have been ostracized, and insulted; her intelligence and writing style would have been mocked to no end. It wasn’t until the 1920’s when women began to have more presence in the literary world, so Evans would have to dealt with a lot of hardship if she wrote under her own name.
An example of her work:
“It is never too late, no matter how old you get because anytime or any point in your life you can always have a chance to make a difference. You can always make a change for the better no matter what background you derived from. You can always do your best and be all that you can be because you will always be uniquely you. It is why it is always wise to listen to your eternal heart, your eternal instincts, and what it had always strove for and/or to do because really anybody can make a difference not only in their own lives but in the lives of others. It is never too late to shine; never.”
A few of my Favourite George Eliot Quotes
‘One has to spend many years in learning how to be happy’
‘Animals are such agreeable friends – they ask no questions; they pass no criticisms’
‘Blessed is the influence of one true, loving human soul on another’
‘May every soul that touches mine – be it the slightest contact – get there from some good; some little grace; one kindly thought; one aspiration yet unfelt; one bit of courage for the darkening sky; one gleam of faith to brave the thickening ills of life; one glimpse of brighter skies beyond the gathering mists – to make this life worthwhile’
‘I fear that in this thing many rich people deceive themselves. They go on accumulating the means but never using them; making bricks, but never building’
‘Failure after long perseverance is much grander than never to have a striving good enough to be called a failure’