George Eliot was the pseudonym of Mary Ann Evans, born in 1819 in Chilvers Coton, England. Mary went to boarding school, and there she developed a strong religious faith. After her mother's death, Mary moved to Coventry where she met some progressive intellectuals who led her to question her faith and for many years she stopped going to church.
She wrote Adam Bede in 1859 , The Mill on the Floss in 1860 and Silas Marner in 1861 but she is best known for Middlemarch which she wrote in 1872.
In her novels George Eliot was influenced by the English poet Wordsworth and the Italian poet Dante whom she liked very much. But unlike Wordsworth and others who always depicted the rural life in happy colours Eliot wanted to represent the working classes more realistically showing their good but also their bad habits.
Her characters are strongly psychological and the way she explores the relationship between these characters and their environment or confront moral dilemmas are also different from the Victorian novel at the time.
Eliot's break from tradition inspired the modern novel writers like Henry James, who admired Eliot.
Silas Marner was Eliot's third novel and is among the best known of her works. Many themes in the novel are based on Eliot's own life experiences: for instance Silas's loss of religious faith recalls Eliot's own struggle with her faith and the novel's setting in the English countryside reflects her concern that England was becoming industrialized too fast and that was going to affect family and society.
Silas Marner is the story of a weaver in Raveloe whose life was miserable until he finds Eppie, a little girl who transforms him. Like many weavers of his time, he is an outsider, because of his special skills and the...