George Eliot and Warwickshire history

Historian article

David Paterson, last updated: 22nd May 2019

David Paterson explains how George Eliot’s vivid memory of her childhood in north Warwickshire is revealed through her novels.

George Eliot, born 200 years ago this year, is one of our greatest novelists, born and brought up in Warwickshire, a county in which she spent the first 30 years of her life. After leaving home she eventually settled to a literary life in London. For nearly 25 years she lived with George Henry Lewes, a man already married. She was supported and inspired by him to produce her great works, but the unconventional relationship meant a breach with her family and the end of visits back to her home county. Yet her astute memory and her literary skills gave her imagination a chance to live vicariously in north Warwickshire, to dip back into what she later called ‘the memory of that warm little nest where my affections were fledged.’ She rescued more than the nest, capturing time and again the atmosphere of the area where she had lived...

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