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Richard Wagner

The German composer Richard Wagner was a good friend of George Eliot's. He often visited the home she shared with George Henry Lewes. Wagner would not have been one to judge Eliot's unique personal life – it was never known whether his actual father was Friedrich Wagner, who died just after Richard was born, or Ludwig Geyer, an artist friend of his mother's.

Various Artists, Victorian Parlour Evening

Women of good breeding were expected to know how to sit down and play piano for company. Eliot learned to play at boarding school. She doubtlessly spent a few evenings playing the piano or gathered around someone else's piano, listening to songs like these.

BBC Concert Orchestra, The Mill on the Floss Soundtrack

This is the soundtrack that accompanied the 1997 Masterpiece Theatre version of The Mill on the Floss. Have this playing in the background while you read the book, and it's like a movie in your brain.

He Can Jog, Middlemarch

So perhaps George Eliot and electronica don't really have much in common – especially since Eliot died before electronics were invented. Nonetheless, the computer musician He Can Jog (an anagram of John Cage) has an album named after her epic novel. Remember Pop Rocks and Coke? Read Middlemarch while listening to "Middlemarch" and see if your head explodes.

Paper Airplane, Middlemarch

This Ohio-based group has released an album named after Middlemarch. Are their lyrics as eloquent, honest and memorable as George Eliot's sentences? Listen and decide for yourself.

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