One of the many paradoxes surrounding the life of this woman with a man's name is that George Eliot should have been so immersed in European culture even while she was writing so memorably of her native Warwickshire. Many of her novels—Adam Bede (1859), The Mill on the Floss (1860), Silas Marner (1861), Felix Holt, The Radical (1866), and Middlemarch (1871-1872)—vividly evoke the life of the English Midlands, where she was born as Mary Anne Evans, the daughter of an estate agent, and where she spent her early years before she took her place in the lively, comparatively liberated, metropolitan milieu of literary London. The move to London in 1851 was prepared for by an eight-month, solitary stay in Geneva during 1849-50, itself a bold step for a single woman of her time. She arrived in Geneva with her friends, the Coventry freethinkers Charles and Caroline Bray, via Paris, Genoa, Milan, Como, and Vevey. It was the Brays who had earlier been responsible for obtaining Evans a publishing contract for her well-received 1846 translation of David Friedrich Strauss's Das Leben Jesu. Although this translation had appeared without Evans's name, when she consolidated her interests in the German language and the so-called higher criticism with her translation, in 1854, of Ludwig Feuerbach's Das Wesen des Christenthums, she received her due credit for the achievement. Her love of Germany was, by the early 1850s, shared by her new lover, the scholar and eminent Victorian George Henry Lewes. Together the couple traveled to Weimar to undertake research for Lewes's biography of Goethe, a journey recorded by Evans in “Recollections of Weimar 1854.”
Throughout the 1850s she contributed articles to the Westminster Review, of which the publisher John Chapman had appointed her his managing editor. This was a journal with a proud liberal heritage: it had been founded by James Mill, assisted by Jeremy Bentham, in 1824, and had subsequently been edited by John
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Publication information: Book title: Multicultural Writers from Antiquity to 1945: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook. Contributors: Alba Amoia - Editor, Bettina L.Knapp - Editor. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 2002. Page number: 106.
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