George Eliot (1819-1880) was one of the leading writers of the Victorian period and she remains one of Britains greatest novelists. This brief life offers new insights into Eliot's life and work focusing on the themes, patterns, relationships, feelings and language common to both her life and writing. Barbara Hardy discusses Eliot's relations with parents and siblings, her brave but joyful unmarried partnership with George Henry Lewes, her friendships and her late brief marriage to the younger John Cross. Setting her life and fiction side by side, Hardy reveals Eliots ideas about society, home, foreignness, nature, gender, religion, sex, illness and death and her experiences as translator, journalist, editor and novelist. ;Drawing on letters, journals, journalism and the memoirs and biographies written by contemporaries, Hardy brings together a biographical approach with close reading of Eliot's novels to give a combined perspective on her life and art. This book offers students, academics and readers alike an illuminating portrait of George Eliot as a woman and a writer.