Celebrated Victorian novelist George Eliot (1819-1880) was born Mary Ann Evans in Warwickshire, England and attended private schools where she studied German, Italian, and music and developed strong religious convictions.
"A woman's heart must be of such a size and no larger, else it must be pressed small, like Chinese feet; her happiness is to be made as cakes are, by a fixed receipt," Eliot observed. Her fiction celebrated the use of psychological analysis, the basis for modern character portrayals.
"Our deeds determine us," she said, "as much as we determine our deeds."
With books that celebrated her middle-class upbringing, Eliot wrote about realism and morality in small, rural towns. Her first novel, Adam Bede (1859) was a tragic love story about her father.
"Delicious autumn!" she wrote. "My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns."
In Silas Marner (1861), she created an unhappy miser who loses his gold but finds humanity through his love for a little girl. With growing maturity as a writer, Eliot created her masterpiece, Middlemarch (1871-1872), a voluminous weave of complex characters and situations, dilemmas and solutions.
How you choose will help you to grow.