George Eliot: What do we live for?
What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?
Mary Ann Evans (22 November 1819 – 22 December 1880; alternatively Mary Anne or Marian), known by her pen name George Eliot, was an English novelist, poet, journalist, translator and one of the leading writers of the Victorian era. She wrote seven novels, Adam Bede (1859), The Mill on the Floss (1860), Silas Marner (1861), Romola (1862–63), Felix Holt, the Radical (1866), Middlemarch (1871–72) and Daniel Deronda (1876). Like Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy, she emerged from provincial England and most of her works are set there. They are known for their realism, psychological insight, sense of place and detailed depiction of the countryside.
Although female authors were published under their own names during her lifetime, she wanted to escape the stereotype of women's writing being limited to lighthearted romances. She also wanted to have her fiction judged separately from her already extensive and widely known work as a translator, editor and critic. Another factor in her use of a pen name may have been a desire to shield her private life from public scrutiny.