“It’s never too late to be who you might have been.” – George Eliot
Mary Ann Evans realized early on in her career that if she was going to be taken seriously as a novelist she needed to change her identity. So, she became – George Eliot. As George, this English journalist and translator became the novelist she longed to be and also became regarded as one of the best of the 19th Century.
Born on this day in 1819, she authored 7 novels – including the terrific Mill on the Floss and Silas Marner – known for their realism and psychological insights.
While women did write under their own names during her lifetime, she said she used a male pen name to escape the stereotype of women only writing lighthearted romances. She also wished to have her fiction judged separately from her already extensive and widely known work as editor and critic.
Self-taught as a writer, she was the first female writer for The Westminster Review, starting in1850 and becoming assistant editor in 1851. By the time she started writing novels she was pretty much running the magazine, contributing many essays and reviews. But despite the acclaim she got for her journalistic writing, she wanted to write creatively and in a style rarely taken by women.
And, thus, George Eliot was born. Always anxious to achieve, she also once noted: “The important work of moving the world forward does not wait to be done by perfect men.” Her writing did, indeed, move the world forward.
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