George Eliot is one of the most celebrated novelists in history. Her books, including Middlemarch, Daniel Deronda, and Adam Bede, are as appreciated now as they were in the nineteenth century. Yet her nonconformist and captivating personal life—a compelling story in itself—is not well known. Ridiculed as an ugly duckling, Eliot violated strict social codes by living with a married man for most of her adult life. Soon after he died, she married a much younger man who attempted suicide during their honeymoon. The obstacles Eliot overcame in her life informed her work and have made her legacy an enduring one.
Brenda Maddox brings her lively style to bear on the intersection of Eliot’s life and novels. She delves into the human side of this larger-than-life figure, revealing the pleasure and pain behind the intellectual’s public face. The result is a deeply personal biography that sheds new light on a woman who lived life on her own terms and altered the literary landscape in the process.