George Eliot: A Life (Faber Finds) and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more

Buy Used
Used - Very Good See details
Price: 1.78

or
 
   
Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Colour:
Image not available

 
Start reading George Eliot: A Life (Faber Finds) on your Kindle in under a minute.

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

George Eliot: A Life [Paperback]

Rosemary Ashton
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

Available from these sellers.


Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition 13.73  
Hardcover --  
Paperback 17.67  
Paperback, 27 Nov 1997 --  

Book Description

27 Nov 1997
This biography of Eliot sets her vividly in the political, social and religious context of the time. She arrived in London in 1851, determined to make her way as a journalist on the "Westminster Review", a paper until then exclusively dominated by men. It was whilst she was working on this journal that she found her writer's voice - ironic, sceptical and broadly sympathizing. The author examines her relationship with Lewes (the subject of a previous biography), his encouragement, battling both against her pride and her fear of failure, her unrequited love for Chapman, her employer on the Review and her love for Spencer, the recipient of her extraordinary love letters, begging attention, yet at the same time strong, self-aware and witty at her own expense. This is a sensitive and revealing portrait of a modern and highly unorthodox life, giving a fuller treatment than any other biography on George Eliot, by an author who has been studying Eliot for 15 years.


Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (27 Nov 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140242910
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140242911
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 12.7 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,188,632 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mary Anne's Life 11 Sep 2009
By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
In this efficient and workmanlike biography of George Eliot, or Mary Anne Evans, as she was properly called, Rosemary Ashton gives a reasonable account of Eliot's life and times.

The book does go over the way some of her early work was received but doesn't quite succeed in placing it in the wider society. I wanted more about how her fiction was received and how her work related to to that of others at the time, which might have helped me understand more clearly how high in the literary canon Eliot's novels deserve to stand. When she began writing novels Eliot was well-known and respected as a journalist and translator, with a particular interest in theological works. Ashton shows how the favourable reception of her early work culminated in the sine qua non of modern novels Middlemarch.

Eliot had to brave the social opinions of the literary and respectable worlds by living as an unmarried woman with George Henry Lewes, whose wife refused to divorce him. He was a writer, philosopher and scientist manque, who proved to be Eliot's indefatigable protector and mentor. Without George Henry it is possible she would never have gained the confidence and encouragement to write fiction. She married a much younger man after Lewes's death, John Cross, but survived only a few years afterwards.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book 26 Dec 2013
Format:Paperback
It has taken me many years to get round to reading this - as it turns out - wonderful biography of George Elliot. Mary Anne Evans life was extraordinary and unconventional and ought to be of interest not just to readers of her novels but also any thoughtful woman who has tried to succeed in a man's world. Rosemary Ashton handles her subject with sensitivity and insight. Unlike many literary biographers, she is more interested in her subject than in her research and George Elliot shines through in all her complexity, informed by the author's careful reading of journals, letters and other material.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
4.0 out of 5 stars Meticulously documented and very readable 30 Oct 2012
Format:Paperback
George Eliot, who was still alive when falsehood began to circulate about her past, shuddered at the thought of what biographers would do to her after her death. "Is it not odious", she asked, referring to a `Life Of Dickens', "that as soon as a man is dead his desk is raked and every insignificant memorandum which he never meant for the public is printed for the gossiping amusement of people too idle to re-read his books?"

She knew she had given the biographers plenty of material on which to do their worst - by rejecting religion, by living a bohemian London life as a single woman, by openly cohabitating with the married George Lewes for years, and by marrying John Cross, a man nearly 20 years her junior, after Lewes's death.

Rosemary Ashton's book however, is not that kind of biography. She analyses thoroughly the life experiences that accompanied Eliot's many name changes - the young provincial Mary Anne Evans, the bohemian free thinker Marian Evans, the scandalous Marian Lewes, the writer George Eliot, and the remarried Mary Ann Cross - and makes obvious her admiration for the woman. But she is most engaged by the writer.

Which is as it should be. Writing was the centre of Eliot's life, a fact often ignored in earlier biographies more concerned with her sexual and social misdemeanours. What is most interesting about her relationship with George Lewes is not that they never married, but the way in which he played midwife to her books: encouraging her to write fiction, guarding her from the criticism that shrivelled her writing confidence, providing the loving background that allowed her genius to flower.

Ashton is an illuminating interpreter of Eliot's work, carefully contextualising her life and intellectual influences.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect item 13 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Perfect item, thououghly matching description. No delays in arriving date. Absolutely nothing to complain about. Satisfied both of article and of service.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exemplary Biography 7 Aug 2008
By R. james Tobin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Marian Evans ("George Eliot") comes alive in this biography. With one of the most brilliant analytical and creative minds of the 19th Century she overcame personal feelings of insecurity about her abilities, accomplishments, social situation and even personal appearance, to write books that were both profound, admired and successful. It helped that she had the constant encouragement of her publisher and the support she received in a decades- long relationship with George Lewes (who was legally unable to divorce his unfaithful wife.) Ashton gives a thoroughly digested chronological account of her activities, including travels and relations with family and friends, notably focusing on the writing and publication of each major work, with critical discussion of each. Some minor players in her story might have been more fully introduced but, after the initial chapter on the very early years, Ashton carried me with her all the way to the end.

R. James Tobin
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Meticulously documented and very readable 30 Oct 2012
By Orna Ross - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
George Eliot, who was still alive when falsehood began to circulate about her past, shuddered at the thought of what biographers would do to her after her death. "Is it not odious", she asked, referring to a `Life Of Dickens', "that as soon as a man is dead his desk is raked and every insignificant memorandum which he never meant for the public is printed for the gossiping amusement of people too idle to re-read his books?"

She knew she had given the biographers plenty of material on which to do their worst - by rejecting religion, by living a bohemian London life as a single woman, by openly cohabitating with the married George Lewes for years, and by marrying John Cross, a man nearly 20 years her junior, after Lewes's death.

Rosemary Ashton's book however, is not that kind of biography. She analyses thoroughly the life experiences that accompanied Eliot's many name changes - the young provincial Mary Anne Evans, the bohemian free thinker Marian Evans, the scandalous Marian Lewes, the writer George Eliot, and the remarried Mary Ann Cross - and makes obvious her admiration for the woman. But she is most engaged by the writer.

Which is as it should be. Writing was the centre of Eliot's life, a fact often ignored in earlier biographies more concerned with her sexual and social misdemeanours. What is most interesting about her relationship with George Lewes is not that they never married, but the way in which he played midwife to her books: encouraging her to write fiction, guarding her from the criticism that shrivelled her writing confidence, providing the loving background that allowed her genius to flower.

Ashton is an illuminating interpreter of Eliot's work, carefully contextualising her life and intellectual influences. She places her within the literary milieu of the 19th century, discussing at length her relationship to other authors. Also treated are her intellectual and social relations with those great and good Victorians with whom she had most contact - Darwin, Huxley, Tennyson, Browning and the radical and feminist women who, for years, were the only females to associate with her.

As the only Victorian woman writer who rejects society's strictures, George Eliot has always been a bit of a feminist icon. What this biography makes clear, however, is that she was an unwilling rebel, and longed for the approval of those she loved and the admiration of society. But not enough to compromise what she believed to be right or true. "This paradox," says Ashton, "a tension between the urge to criticise, and if necessary to rebel against established ideas and practices, and the counter-urge to belong securely in the family and social group, is at the heart of George Eliot's life in all its stages." And it informs her novels too.

Unsurprisingly, having lived such an unconventional life, on her death the rumours began to fly, especially about her final years. It was said, for example, that while going through Lewes's papers after his death, she had discovered evidence that he had been unfaithful. Ashton quashes such speculation, attributing the rumour to its source. But the events of this stage of Eliot's life raise compelling questions. Why did she marry Cross, a man utterly unlike her beloved Lewes and in no way her intellectual equal? Why did he jump into the grand canal in Venice on their honeymoon? Was there madness in Cross's family? Did Eliot come to think him mad and never recover from the dreadful depression that followed as some claimed?

At this part of the biography, Georg Eliot slips from view. We long to know more, but are left wondering. The sources are not there and the questions are therefore, for a biographer like Ashton, unanswerable. She quotes Charles, Lewes's son, as saying that Eliot had explained her marriage by intimating that it was her human feelings and failings which enabled her to write her books. "This explanation which was good enough for Charles," chivvies Ashton, "should be good enough for us". She refuses to offer educated guesses, psychoanalytic interpretations, maybes or perhapses.

What she gives instead is a scholarly, meticulously documented yet readable Life, which is not a substitute for reading the books, but rather an enticement to explore them. I imagine that even its biography-shy subject would have to acknowledge its worth.
5.0 out of 5 stars By all means read this book 14 Feb 2014
By Constantine Evans - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I wrote Professor Ashton a fan letter, saying her book enhanced my reading and expanded my understanding of MIDDLEMARCH. And so it did. A wonderful book.
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
Topic:
First post:
Prompts for sign-in
 

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions
   


Look for similar items by category


Feedback