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Biography of George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans)

Portrait of George Eliot

Mary Ann Evans was a famous novelist in the nineteenth century who wrote under the pseudonym of George Eliot.

When and Where was she Born?

Born Mary Ann Evans on 22nd November 1819, Arbury Hall Farm, Chilvers Coton, Warwickshire, England.

Family Background:

George Eliot was the daughter of an estate worker.


Mrs Wallington’s School, Nuneaton, Warwickshire. Misses Franklin’s School.

Timeline of George Eliot:

1836: Death of her mother.

1840: Eliot publishes her first poem in the “Christian Observer”.

1841: She moves to Bird Grove. Foleshill near Coventry with her father.

1842: She translates parts of the “Tractatus Theologico Politicus” by Spinoza.

1843: George Eliot begins studying Greek.

1844: She translates Strauss’s “Das Leben Jesu”. Begins to study Hebrew.

1849: Death of her father in June. Travels to Geneva, Switzerland with the Bray family.

1851: She writes an article for the “Westminster Review” about Mackay’s “Progress of the Intellect”.

1852: First publication of the “Westminster Review” under her Editorship.

1853: Eliot moves to live in her own lodgings.

1854: In July she leaves with George Henry Lewes for Weimar in Germany. Begins translating Spinoza’s “Ethics” on 3rd November.

1856: In February after finishing Spinoza she begins writing “The Sad Fortunes of Rev. Amos Barton”.

1857: She writes “Scenes of Clerical Life” for Blackwood’s Magazine under the pseudonym George Eliot.

1859: “Adam Bede” is published by Blackwoods in three volumes. The second edition and second impression follow on swiftly.

1860: George Eliot tours Italy with Lewes. She publishes “The Mill on the Floss”.

1861: First publication of “Silas Marner”.

1862: “Romala” begins its serialisation in “Cornhill Magazine”.

1864: She tours Italy once more and begins to learn Spanish.

1865: She holidays in Paris and Brittany.

1866: “Felix Holt” is published by Blackwoods. She tours Holland, Belgium Germany and Spain.

1867: George Eliot travels with Lewes to Germany.

1868: She travels with Lewes to Germany and Switzerland. She publishes “The Spanish Gyspy”.

1869: Eliot travels to Italy with Lewes and meets John Walter Cross in Rome during April. (August) Begins writing “Middlemarch”.

George Eliot's House
House at 4 Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, London where George Eliot moved to late in life (copyright Anthony Blagg)

1871: “Middlemarch” is published in eight monthly parts by Blackwoods.

1872: George Eliot visits Germany with Lewes and is taken ill.

1873: She holidays in France and Germany.

1876: “Daniel Deronda” is published in eight monthly parts. She travels to France and Switzerland with Lewes. Buys the Heights at Witley with Lewes in December.

1878: Death of George Lewes on 22nd December.

1879: John Blackwood dies in October.

1880: She marries John Cross on 6th May at St. George’s Hannover Square, London. They move to 4 Cheyne Walk on 3rd December and Eliot dies later that month.

When and Where did she Die?

22nd December 1880, Chelsea, London, England from a throat infection, coupled with complications from the kidney disease she had suffered for several years.

Age at Death:


Written Works:

1846: “Strauss’s Life of Jesus”.
1858: “Scenes of Clerical Life”.
1859: “Adam Bede”  “The Lifted Veil”.
1860: “The Mill on the Floss”.
1861: “Silas Marner”.
1863: “Romola”.
1866: “Felix Holt”.
1868: “The Spanish Gypsy”.
1869: “Agatha”.
1871: “Middlemarch”.
1874: “The Legend of Jubal”.
1876: “Daniel Deronda”.
1879: “Thophrastus Such”.
(1884): “Essays and Leaves from Notebooks”.


To John Cross on 6th May 1880 at St. George’s Hannover Square, London.

Site of Grave:

Highgate New Cemetery, Highgate, London, England.

Places of Interest:


4 Cheyne Walk.


Nuneaton Museum and Art Gallery, Riversley Park, Coton Road, Nuneaton, CV11 5TU.

Further Information:

George Eliot Fellowship, c/o Mrs Kathleen Adams, 71 Stepping Stones Road, Coventry, CW5 8JT.