Claudia FitzHerbert

What can we learn of George Eliot through her heroines?

Eliot guarded her privacy closely, but her novels explore themes of sacrifice and restraint, and her heroines are studies in the impossibility of having it all

Frederic William Burton’s portrait of George Eliot (1865) captures her melancholy and earnestness. [Alamy]

‘I have… found someone to take care of me in the world,’ Marian Evans wrote to her brother in 1857, three years after setting up house with George Henry Lewes. Professing herself ‘well acquainted with his mind and character’, she requested that the modest income from her father’s legacy should in future be paid into her husband’s bank account.

Already a subscriber? Log in

Keep reading with a free trial

Subscribe and get your first month of online and app access for free. After that it’s just £1 a week.

There’s no commitment, you can cancel any time.


Unlock more articles



Don't miss out

Join the conversation with other Spectator readers. Subscribe to leave a comment.

Already a subscriber? Log in