I’m watching a programme about the author George Eliot and I suddenly realised how different the world must have been then.
She took a man’s name so she could get her books published. She went from a deeply religious belief to someone who became strongly atheistic.
She lost her mother at age 16. She was self taught, and learnt a lot from being allowed free access to a local land owners library.
But apart from her history how was she influenced by the world? Modern history had not happened yet. No Einstein, no Marie Curie, no first world war, no one knew about the Universe, the world was not fully explored. No TV, radio, computers, no electricity supplies. How did people communicate except by letters and books. No telegraph. Travel was by carriage, or horse. The trains were only just being thought of. How would she have described the modern world and how it affects the life you lead. She was living through a changing era. The chartist riots were happening.
Women were rarely published. The books by Jane Austin and the Bronte sisters were only ones of a few women authors. If she had lived now, she could have written under her own name, Mary Anne Evans, not a masculine pseudonym. She took the pen name George Eliot when she started to write fiction, not the romantic novels that other female writers were creating at the time. She wrote books like the Mill on the Floss and Adam Bede and Middlemarch.