100%(1)1 out of 1 people found this document helpful
This preview shows page 1 - 2 out of 10 pages.
1THE MILL ON THE FLOSS SPARK NOTESContextGeorge Eliot was the male pseudonym of Mary Ann Evans (she would later call herself Marian), born on November 22, 1819 at Arbury Farm in Warwickshire. Her father, Robert Evans, was an overseer at the Arbury Hall estate, and Eliot kept house for him after her mother died in 1836. The Mill on the Flossinvolves many autobiographical details, and it reflects Eliot's close childhood relationships with her father and her older brother Isaac. Eliot was sent to school as a child and at the age of fifteen and underwent a spiritual conversion to Evangelicism, similar to Maggie Tulliver's pious conversion upon reading Thomas a Kempis in Book IV ofThe Mill on the Floss.In 1841, Eliot and her father moved closer to the town of Coventry, which was at that time a centre of radical thought. Eliot made friends with a group of Coventry intellectuals, mainly members of the Bray family, and began reading such works as An Enquiry into the Origins of Christianity.Eliot soon gave up her Evangelicism in favour of a non-sectarian spirituality based on a sense of common humanity. She refused to attend church with her father and began work on a translation from German of Life of Jesus,a rationalist re-examination of some Bible sections. Life of Jesuswas publishedin 1846, and on the strength of that accomplishment, Eliot moved to London after her father's death.In London, Eliot became the assistant editor of John Chapman's Westminster Reviewand came into close contact with the leading intellectuals of the time, such as Herbert Spencer, John Stuart Mill, and Harriet Martineau. In 1852, Eliot met and became close to George Henry Lewes, a writer and an editor of The Leader.ewes was living apart from his wife, and Eliot's decision to accompany Lewes to Germany, living as a couple, provoked a degree of scandal in London. In particular, Eliot sacrificed her relationship with her brother Isaac, and she depicted the pain of his disapproval in The Mill on the Flossin Tom's disapproval of Maggie's relationships with Philip and Stephen.Eliot and Lewes lived together, considering themselves virtually married until his death in 1878. With the encouragement of Lewes, Eliot began writing fiction.Scenes of Clerical Lifewas published in 1856. Adam Bede(1859), her first full novel, was met with critical acclaim, and the public began to wonder what writer was behind the pseudonym of George Eliot. By the time of the publication of The Mill on the Flossin three volumes in 1860, Marian Evans's authorship had been tentatively guessed by a few London intellectuals and friends. Several well-received novelsfollowed, including Middlemarch,the novel now regarded as her greatest artistic success. Eliot died in 1880.Eliot's most important contribution to literature was in her treatment of realism. Eschewing the caricature fiction of Charles Dickens, Eliot perfected the genre of psychological realism, paving the way for the later work of the American novelist Henry James. Eliot understood that art should be near to life, valuing observed truths and creating a greater