Mary Ann Evans, better known by her pen name "George Eliot," a much over-rated English female writer whose ponderous works, with one or two exceptions, would probably not pass a publisher's reader at the present time, was born at Arbury farm, Chilvers Coton Parish, November 22, 1819. From the age of twelve to fifteen she attended a private girls' school. When her father retired in 1841, she went with him to Foleshill Road, Coventry, and there prepared a translation of Strauss' "Leben Jesu." From 1851 to 1853 she was assistant editor of the Westminster Review. In 1854 she met George Henry Lewes, the vivacious editor of The Leader. Lewes was already married, but according to English law, although his wife had twice eloped with other men, he was ineligible for divorce because he had forgiven her the first time. With him Mary Ann Evans lived until his death in 1878, and during these years most of her novels were produced. On May 6, 1880, she married John Walter Cross, twenty years her junior, and died December 22 of the same year.
REFERENCES: J. W. Cross, George Eliot's Life, 3 vols. Also biographies by Mathilde Blind, Oscar Browning, A. Fremantle, A. T. Kitchel, J. Lewis May, A. H. Paterson, and others.
Waverley Library (quarto). Nos. 86, 108