In July 1857, aged 37, the daughter of an estate manager and a single woman with failed relationships behind her and no certain prospect of a professional future, Midlands country girl Marian Evans wrote: “I feel that all the terrible pain I have gone through in past years, partly from the defects of my own nature, partly from outward things, has probably been a preparation for some special work that I may do before I die.”
Two years later, she published Scenes Of Clerical Life under the pseudonym George Eliot (because single women didn’t get published) and the rest, as they say, is literary history.
This special Reader’s Day, 200 years after Evans/Eliot’s birth, near Nuneaton in 1819, is a celebration and exploration of the life and work of one of the world’s greatest writers. Join The Reader – a national charity promoting reading – at their newly refurbished Calderstones Park centre, The Mansion House, to share the experience of some of George Eliot’s work.
Are you a struggler? If you’ve never managed to get going with Middlemarch, fellow readers can give you a boost. Are you a thinker? If you think Darwin and Marx had the biggest ideas of the nineteenth century, think again as you look at human beings through the eyes, and heart and pen of this powerful thinker, whose biggest thought was ‘sympathy’. Are you a fan? If you already love George Eliot, come back to her now and revisit a favourite work with others who are experiencing her fiery energy for the first time.