By F. B. Pinion

This serious survey of George Eliot's works contains a biographical advent and a short account of the historic occasions that performed an element in her fiction. a number of quotations from her letters make sure that the main helpful facets of Eliot's idea are accurately conveyed. An appendix dwells on Eliot's impact on Thomas Hardy.

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She was very happy, and soon recovered her energy and zest for knowledge. Her reading then, and for months to come, was assiduous, mainly in German literature and Shakespeare. In Berlin she helped Lewes by translating much from the German for the biography of Goethe which he was completing; her own principal work was the translation of Spinoza's Ethics, which she had almost finished when they returned to England in March 1855. While George searched for lodgings in London, and took steps to ensure that his legal wife Agnes and her children did not lack financial support (in addition to Lewes's three boys, she now had three children by Thornton Hunt), Marian remained at Dover.

Her main purpose in Lichfield was to see Chrissey's daughters, and do all she could to ensure that they were happy at school. At Weymouth her novel was not forgotten; she and Lewes examined two mills in the Radipole district, and rambled in the meadows by the Frome near Dorchester, hoping to find a suitable setting. It was to provide scenes in the novels and poems of Thomas Hardy, but time and chance made it impossible for the Leweses to know they were exploring country viewed almost daily by a young man whose development as a novelist was to owe more than a little to George Eliot.

Visitors at 8 Park Shot that summer included Sara Hennell, Barbara Leigh Smith and her French husband (she had met Dr Bodichon in Algiers and married him in London, despite the opposition of her family), and Herbert Spencer. Rufa Hennell (now Mrs Call, after a widowhood of seven years) invited the Leweses to dinner. George had taken his youngest son Herbert to join his brothers, who were flourishing at Hofwyl. John Blackwood was a discerning, intuitive reader but, as a magazine editor, he had continually to bear in mind the exacting tastes of rigidly conventional readers.

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