George Eliot: The Last Victorian

Kathryn Hughes

The first full-length biography of George Eliot to explore the way in which her painful early life shaped the insight and art which would make her Victorian England’s last great visionary.

The book ooks particularly at the effect of rejection by her brother Isaac, and at the ways in which her views, life and fiction made her both the ‘Last Victorian’ and arguably the ‘first Modern’.

A sympathetic and immensely readable biography of the 19-century writer whose territory comprised nothing less than the entire span of Victorian society. Uniquely among the great English novelists, George Eliot had a thorough understanding of the great intellectual and ideological debates of the day, yet she retained an absolute attachment to the middle ground, where everyday lives are shaped by love, habit and history. Eliot’s plea for the strengthening of social and emotional bonds between human beings at the expense of particular ideological interest has never seemed more urgent as we attempt in our own time to redefine the public space, to balance social duties against individual rights and most relevant of all, to re-explore the pleasures and possibilities of literary realism. For all these reasons, the demand for a new biography of George Eliot has never been so urgent.

Reviews of George Eliot: The Last Victorian

    • Praise for Kathryn Hughes’s previous work:
    • ‘Seriously scholarly yet nonetheless accessible to the general reader… fascinating.’Margaret Forster, Sunday Telegraph
    • ‘Illuminating, intelligent.’Daily Telegraph
    • ‘Hughes has an acute ear for social nuance.’The Times