Alexander Mark Rossi
Moral prudishness pushed Thomas Hardy and George Eliot to develop more creative and thoughtful writing practices.
Tennessee Witney via Shutterstock
And every one of them has a happy ending.
A portrait of George Eliot at 30 by Alexandre-Louis-François d'Albert-Durade. Her masterpiece Middlemarch is often claimed to be the greatest novel in the English language.
Henry James called her a 'great, horse-faced bluestocking'. On the 200th anniversary of her birth, we celebrate George Eliot, a literary trailblazer with an endless appetite for ideas, living in a patriarchal time.
George Eliot (1819-1880), aged 30.
Alexandre-Louis-François d'Albert-Durade/National Portrait Gallery
Born the same year as Queen Victoria, Eliot faced similar life choices to many young women today
Vladimir and Vera Nabokov in 1969.
Giuseppe Pino, Wikimedia Commons
From Tolstoy to Mark Twain, the most famous writers owe many words of thanks to their long-suffering wives.
Let’s critique the literary canon, but we shouldn’t throw the Brontës out with the bathwater.
The Brontë Sisters, by Patrick Branwell Brontë, circa 1834.
Like it or not, the literary canon is part of the cultural capital of the West. Universities that choose not to teach it – or refuse to critically engage with it – are actually disempowering students.