Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Analysis

The Mill on the Floss Trivia

Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge

George Eliot wasn’t just a fiction writer. She also wrote prose pieces and essays and was the editor of the Westminster Review magazine. It was really unusual for a woman to be the editor of a major publication in this period, so way to go George Eliot! (Source)

Eliot was involved in a long-term relationship with George Henry Lewes. The two never married since Lewes was already married and was unable to divorce, but they considered themselves "spiritually" married. (Source: A.S. Byatt. "Introduction" Penguin Edition, Mill on the Floss)

George Eliot’s older brother Isaac cut off all ties with her after she moved in with George Henry Lewes. Isaac served as a model for Tom Tulliver. (Source: A.S. Byatt. "Introduction" Penguin Edition, Mill on the Floss)

George Eliot was actually refused burial in Westminster Abbey, but she does have a memorial plaque in Poet’s Corner, where a number of Britain’s famous authors are buried or memorialized. (Source)

George Eliot’s nickname was "Polly." How do you get Polly from Mary Anne or George? Well, you don’t. The nickname came from a character in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, which Eliot read many times. The character was Apollyon, a demon character. Eliot’s friend gave her the nickname as a joke, and it ended up sticking. Eliot actually references both Apollyon and Pilgrim’s Progress in The Mill on the Floss. (Source: Dwight H. Purdy. "The Wit of Biblical Allusion in The Mill on the Floss". Studies in Philology. Volume 102, Number 2, Spring 2005, pp. 233-246)

Eliot used a lot of real locations from her childhood home in Nuneaton, a town in Warwickshire, England, in The Mill on the Floss. Griff House, for instance, was the basis for Dorlcote Mill. To check out a picture, see "Best of the Web." (Source)

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