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George Eliot

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Prof
Gloucester
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1 of 22  Sun 28th Sep 2014 8:34am  
Member: Joined Jul 2014  Total posts:1495

Just back from my wonderful German holiday and train trip to Dresden, I was delighted to find that on the new TV channel 'True Entertainment' last evening began a two part film of 'Middlemarch' George Eliot's classic novel based on the Coventry of the time. John Prest's 'The Industrial Revolution in Coventry' has a closing appendix 'The Historical Value of Middlemarch' with Stivichall and Baginton thought to have been the inspiration for 'Lowick' (perhaps a combination of both). For such a long novel the film must only cover a part and seems to centre on the relationship between Dorothea (the somewhat 'blue-stocking' niece of Brooke) who marries the seemingly cold-hearted scholarly clergyman Casaubon. Edited by member, 28th Sep 2014 4:02 pm
Local History and Heritage - George Eliot
DBC
Nottinghamshire
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2 of 22  Sun 28th Sep 2014 1:01pm  
Member: Joined Apr 2010  Total posts:168

My wife's uncle, who was born and educated in Nuneaton still insists that it is that town and not Coventry that is the setting of the novel. This in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. He is on much firmer ground with "Scenes of Clerical Life" . That definitely is set in Nuneaton (Milby).
Local History and Heritage - George Eliot
Prof
Gloucester
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Thread starter
3 of 22  Sun 28th Sep 2014 4:14pm  
Member: Joined Jul 2014  Total posts:1495

Yes, I agree about Nuneaton and 'Scenes of Clerical Life' - I consider that one of the most readable and has the most vivid and pleasant characterisation of all of Eliot's works. However, If you look at John Prest's 'Appendix' I think Coventry scores over Nuneaton, though more than possible that she used characters and places from both. I think it is in Tom and Maggie Tulliver, 'The Mill on the Floss' the 'Red Deeps' is said to have been a hollow in part of Foleshill. As a girl my mother had the children's edition 'Tom & Maggie Tulliver' so that became my introduction too to George Eliot. I would often go down Warwick Row and look at the house where Mary Ann went to School, it later became a café, then an estate agents.
Local History and Heritage - George Eliot
Prof
Gloucester
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Thread starter
4 of 22  Sun 10th Nov 2019 3:05pm  
Member: Joined Jul 2014  Total posts:1495

This evening (Sunday 10th Nov) at 9.00pm on BBC4 there is a programme about George Eliot's life. I will watch. So Forum members ENJOY! Edited by member, 10th Nov 2019 3:08 pm
Local History and Heritage - George Eliot
OldCaludonian
Peak District
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5 of 22  Mon 11th Nov 2019 12:40pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2016  Total posts:13

DBC's wife's uncle is not alone. In 1888 there was published a book called Scenes from 'George Eliot' Country by S. Parkinson who thinks "It is a little singular that George Eliot did not draw more upon her experience at Coventry than she has done..... But the little she did take from the 'city of the three spires' was at all events of a high order for it yielded Rufus Lyon [ in Felix Holt]..". Parkinson's chapter on Middlemarch makes no reference to Coventry - or, for that matter, Nuneaton. This is very much in contrast with modern commentators such as Graham Handley (George Eliot's Midlands: Passion Exile , 1991) who is quite sure that "Middlemarch is based on Coventry".
Martin Brayne

Local History and Heritage - George Eliot
CovArchives
Coventry
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6 of 22  Tue 12th Nov 2019 11:31am  
Member: Joined Jan 2018  Total posts:34

Dear All, With the 200 year anniversary of Mary Ann Evans [George Eliot] birthday almost here, we wished to highlight the new guide to the George Eliot collection at Coventry Archives. To access this please click on the link below from the Coventry Archives webpage: George Eliot finding aid Ali Wells, Local studies and Archaeology curator has also been working hard on updating the George Eliot section in the History gallery. Many items from this George Eliot collection have been produced and are now on display, until April 2020. She has also secured a short term loan of the original manuscript of "Middlemarch" from the British Library. This is only for a short period - for further details please click on the link to the webpage: George Eliot in the History Gallery With thanks, Victoria Northridge Archivist Manager
Victoria Northridge

Local History and Heritage - George Eliot
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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7 of 22  Tue 10th Mar 2020 1:32pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3850

She also wrote about Coventry: Oh, the dismal weather and the dismal country, and the dismal people. I am determined to sell everything I possess and be a stranger and a foreigner on the earth for evermore. She came back once to visit her brother. They didn't see eye to eye. They never spoke again for forty years.
Local History and Heritage - George Eliot
Earlsdon Kid
Argyll & Bute, Scotland
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8 of 22  Sun 22nd Mar 2020 3:10pm  
Member: Joined Apr 2017  Total posts:89

On 11th Nov 2019 12:40pm, OldCaludonian said: DBC's wife's uncle is not alone. In 1888 there was published a book called Scenes from 'George Eliot' Country by S. Parkinson who thinks "It is a little singular that George Eliot did not draw more upon her experience at Coventry than she has done..... But the little she did take from the 'city of the three spires' was at all events of a high order for it yielded Rufus Lyon [ in Felix Holt]..". Parkinson's chapter on Middlemarch makes no reference to Coventry - or, for that matter, Nuneaton. This is very much in contrast with modern commentators such as Graham Handley (George Eliot's Midlands: Passion Exile , 1991) who is quite sure that "Middlemarch is based on Coventry".
There is an illustration entitled " 'Middlemarch' - Great Butcher Row, drawn by Nathaniel Troughton " in the Kenneth Richardson book "Twentieth Century Coventry" which would back up this opinion that "Middlemarch" is based on Coventry.
Local History and Heritage - George Eliot
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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9 of 22  Sun 22nd Mar 2020 4:29pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3850

George Eliot did not name anything by name as far as I know, and everyone is guessing, but she did mention and have meetings with John Sibree from Vicar Street, the same guy that had the military bands thrown out of Coventry. What she did do was describe the countryside around Warwickshire at that time. But it was a man's world, that's why she wrote in a man's name, she was a brilliant scholar and musician, way out of her time, and she was Jewish, that didn't fit in with Coventry. We had refused to have them in the country for centuries, way back. We could argue about her for years, she was so complex.
Local History and Heritage - George Eliot
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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10 of 22  Tue 31st Mar 2020 12:14pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3850

Further to this, her friend did exactly the same. Elizabeth Gaskell went to boarding school three miles from Warwick, aged eleven in 1821 taught by the Byerley sisters, but she was no Mary Evans. They all read the same books, the same type of Sunday Schools and chapels, and women should stay by the kitchen fire and girls should keep out of men's disputes. Later they wrote books, again and again they wrote of their childhood with fictional names, but people they had known. They shared the same friend, and they were at the forefront of the mid-century women's movement, that later became the suffragettes.
Local History and Heritage - George Eliot
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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11 of 22  Tue 14th Apr 2020 11:56am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3850

To me to write the history of Coventry you would have to put this person to the forefront, for behind the scenes she was a most influential person of her time. Forget her books, that are fictional names of local people she knew as a child. It was in her later years that she knew and was friends with people like the Brays (Radford) and the Hennells who owned silk and ribbon houses in Coventry, the Rosehill circle and the Courtaulds family who later came to Coventry. Sara Hennell, woman sympathsizer and rights campaigner, she resented the silencing of women's free expression. George Eliot was an exceptional, intellectual, educated woman, but the times were of religious discussions, and male domination, that made her take a man's name to be a successful writer, but the women felt trapped by education, economic and legal constraint in a man’s world. Her closest friends were leading Victorian feminist campaigners, against the male desire to 'mastery' over women, and although she drew back from active involvement she did sign and head the Woman's Movement (Suffrage) mid-19th century. For over sixty years they fought their campaign, making the election vote the mainstay, but no matter what they did they were thwarted. Only the first world war showed they could not be ignored, the country needed them badly to do men’s jobs - they won their vote.
Local History and Heritage - George Eliot
Helen F
Warrington
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12 of 22  Tue 14th Apr 2020 12:54pm  
Moderator: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:2332

Thumbs up Thumbs up Kaga Coventry and its surrounds have been the source or inspiration of a great many notable women. Godiva included. I know very little about George Eliot, or her writing as I'm not a fan of the Classics but I can appreciate how ahead of her time she was.
Local History and Heritage - George Eliot
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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13 of 22  Tue 14th Apr 2020 2:44pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3850

Helen, No, forget her classics, they were only classics in her era, today they are far out of date and boring, but they do show the fight women had in a man’s world. She realised that you had to have money, if not it was domestic stuff, the kitchen, and even there could be brutal. Women have come a long way from her day.
Local History and Heritage - George Eliot
Helen F
Warrington
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14 of 22  Tue 14th Apr 2020 3:08pm  
Moderator: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:2332

I was lucky going into my branch of a man's world because IT was new to everyone at the time. Hard work but fun. However what I'm doing now is much better and yes, money was the key to let me explore a new direction. I'm never going to be famous but I'll settle for happy.
Local History and Heritage - George Eliot
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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15 of 22  Wed 22nd Apr 2020 10:04am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3850

There's no question that George Eliot was a founder of the Suffragette Movement. Sometime in 1951 a story appeared in the daily papers, an old time famous jockey had taken his own life, he had suffered for years the guilt of killing a Suffragette in the Epsom Derby of 1913. The story was, the woman had thrown herself under the hooves of the horses, in a senseless act to highlight the movement. A few years later, in a country pub near a racecourse, I heard a different version - the movement thought if they could hang their coloured silks on the King's horse it would carry them down the course for all to see. For weeks the woman practised with moving horses at her farm. On the day of the race the woman placed herself In the right position, waited till all but five horses had passed, walked calmly through a space, let two horses pass her on the inside, approached the third horse from last, the King's horse running on the outside, but there was a big slope to the running rail and downwards, miss-judged its pace just when it edged towards the running rail, it careered into her at greater speed than estimated, she died a few days after. The Jockey had no chance, but felt guilty. The sport of Kings, at a time when women were not allowed to train horses or become jockeys, an all male courtroom, an all male sport, an all male domination of women, an all male story. But not the truth, wrong history. For years that is what I believed. A century later, 2013, Clare Balding proved the other story that I heard in the pub was the true one.
Local History and Heritage - George Eliot

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