By Megan Harlan
Updated August 20, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT
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George Eliot: The Last Victorian

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  • Book
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GEORGE ELIOT: THE LAST VICTORIAN Kathryn Hughes (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $30) That Eliot never practiced what she preached has long baffled biographers. Born Mary Anne Evans in 1819, this puritanical middle-class girl, cruelly dubbed too ”ugly” for marriage, reinvented herself as Victorian England’s most unconventional woman — growing rich from brilliantly innovative novels like Middlemarch, outraging London society by living with her married lover, and publicly proclaiming her agnosticism. Yet Eliot never supported women’s rights, and her novels painstakingly examined the repressive social status quo, which she personally defied. Drawing on Eliot’s letters, Hughes’ intimate, vibrantly incisive bio reveals that Eliot defensively viewed herself as the exception — among women and Victorians alike — that proved the rule. A-

George Eliot: The Last Victorian

type
  • Book
genre
author
  • Kathryn Hughes

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