George Eliot was born Mary Ann Evans in rural Warwickshire and was unusually well-educated for a woman of her time. A controversial figure during her life, Eliot published translations as well as prose and poetry, all but one under her adopted pseudonym. Among her themes are music; art as an activity of unfathomable human worth; the notion that the past shapes the present; and the conflict in a woman's life between great duty and the prospect of a happy marriage. Her prose masterpiece was the psychologically insightful Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life (1871).
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