Study Guide

George Eliot Writer

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By April 1855, Eliot and Lewes were living together in London as a quasi-married couple. Eliot changed her name to Marian Lewes. With Lewes' encouragement (and with time on her hands following her social ostracism), Eliot decided to finally try fiction writing, something that she had always wanted to do. There was just the problem of her name. Eliot worried that her work would be dismissed as "women's" fiction, or clouded by her personal scandal, if she published under her own name. She came up with the name George Eliot. "George was Mr. Lewes's Christian name," she explained later, "and Eliot was a good mouth-filling, easily pronounced word." That was the same year that Eliot and Lewes were introduced to Queen Victoria's daughter Princess Louise, who let Eliot know that both she and her mother were fans of her work. The royal reception officially signaled the end of Eliot's social isolation.

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