Pastel drawing of George Eliot.

George Eliot

(1819 - 1880)

Mary Ann Evans took the pseudonym George Eliot in 1857 while trying to sell her first story, “The Sad Fortunes of the Reverend Amos Barton,” to a publisher in Edinburgh. The author of Middlemarch borrowed George from her lover George Henry Lewes and chose Eliot, she said, for being “a good, mouth-filling, easily pronounced word.”

All Writing

One has to spend so many years in learning how to be happy.

—George Eliot, 1844

We get a deal o’ useless things about us, only because we’ve got the money to spend.

—George Eliot, 1860

Opposition may become sweet to a man when he has christened it persecution.

—George Eliot, 1857

There’s folks ’ud hold a sieve under the pump and expect to carry away the water.

—George Eliot, 1859

The law’s made to take care o’ raskills.

—George Eliot, 1860

Voices In Time

c. 1840 | St. Ogg’s

Styles of Learning

George Eliot watches a lesson take root (or not).More

Music sweeps by me as a messenger / Carrying a message that is not for me.

—George Eliot, 1868

To know intense joy without a strong bodily frame, one must have an enthusiastic soul.

—George Eliot, 1872

Secrets are rarely betrayed or discovered according to any program our fear has sketched out.

—George Eliot, 1860

Animals are such agreeable friends—they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.

—George Eliot, 1857

To be a poet is to have a soul so quick to discern that no shade of quality escapes it, and so quick to feel that discernment is but a hand playing with finely ordered variety on the chords of emotion—a soul in which knowledge passes instantaneously into feeling, and feeling flashes back as a new organ of knowledge. One may have that condition by fits only.

—George Eliot, c. 1872

The best augury of a man’s success in his profession is that he thinks it the finest in the world.

—George Eliot, 1876

“Abroad,” that large home of ruined reputations.

—George Eliot, 1866

Animals are such agreeable friends—they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.

—George Eliot, 1857

Childhood has no forebodings—but then, it is soothed by no memories of outlived sorrow.

—George Eliot, 1860

A difference of taste in jokes is a great strain on the affections.

—George Eliot, 1876

Issues Contributed