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A major new biography of a great english writer who has particular relevance for our own age. For the sheer breadth of experience embodied in her life and work, George Eliot presents an ever alluring subject for biographers. The daughter of one of the new breed of self made businessmen, she had a scandalous liaison with the married writer and editor George Henry Lewes that made an outcast of her until literary fame overcame 'polite' scruples. Unparalleled among the great English novelists for her understanding of the important intellectual and political debates of her day, she nonetheless maintained a fervent attachment to the pragmatic middle ground, where idealism is tempered by love, habit, and history. It is no wonder that many a previous biographer has foundered in the face of so much richness and complexity, producing lopsided or not entirely coherent portraits of the writer. Kathryn Hughes's sympathetic, human, and immensely readable biography provides a truly nuanced view of Eliot, and is the first to grapple equally with the personal dramas that shaped her psyche particularly her rejection by her brother Isaac and her social and intellectual context. Hughes shows how these elements together forged the themes of Eliot's work, her insistence that ideological interests be subordinated to the bonds between human beings a message that has keen resonance in our own uneasy time.
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