George Eliot Lives! by Freda M. Chaney,D.D., non-fiction, Official Website
| George Eliot Lives!
Freda M. Chaney
"Writing is not complicated when you are writing from the heart. When you begin to force the voice for the sake of sharing details, the ease with which you write will diminish. That tension converts to the reader. "Narrative non-fiction" is one of the hardest forms to write. It is non-fiction written in story form like a novel. George Eliot educated herself and collected details from around the world to write her novels, but her earliest novels were straight from the heart because she was writing about what she knew best." ~ Freda M. Chaney
"I've learned a lot through writing about George Eliot. I've learned that pride and stubbornness can ruin family and friendships. I've learned that people can be hateful and cruel to others even when they love them. I've learned that human beings usually wait until it is too late to make amends. I've learned that George Eliot was different, and because of this she was treated badly by her family who turned her away for decades. I have learned that that pain and anguish of rejection made her a noteworthy author who conveyed emotions perhaps better than anyone else in the English language. She is cited as being one of the top 100 women who changed the world. She did it with words of empathy--love--acceptance. I have learned from George Eliot that to be oneself without bowing to the anger and rejection of others is a good thing." ~ Freda M. Chaney
"Mary Ann Evans (later known by the pen name of George Eliot) was born in 1819, the same year as Queen Victoria. In terms of intellect, she was way ahead of her time. Early on, Mary Ann displayed signs of superior intelligence, though her physical beauty was greatly lacking. Seeing it was not likely that his daughter would attract a mate, her father, Robert Evans, provided for her private tutoring beyond the age that was expected for females of that era. Mary Ann had no problem with furthering her education, and in fact loved reading and research. She was a quick learner and easily handled foreign languages, philosophy, theology and literature. In addition, she enjoyed music and art. To say the least, Mary Ann grew into an unusual young woman with the intelligence that she felt was akin to the intellect of men. It would seem that the lack of beauty that served to drive away potential mates created for the world a darling of literary genius." From the Introduction of GEORGE ELIOT LIVES by Freda M. Chaney, D.D.
"Empathy cannot be described. Rather, it is an experience of allowing oneself to move into the feelings of another without reflection of oneself. It is exemplified by Dorothea in George Eliot's novel, Middlemarch. Empathy is the escalator that moves a human being heavenward--up, up and beyond the binding self to something more Godlike. We could use a lot more empathy in our world." ~ Freda M. Chaney, GEORGE ELIOT LIVES
I have returned from England rich with the sights, sounds, and scents of George Eliot's aka Mary Ann(e) Evans' countryside. We arrived in Nuneaton on 23 February and stayed for three days in the house where Eliot lived for over twenty one years of her life. This homestead, Giff House, and the surrounding countryside was also the setting for her novel, THE MILL ON THE FLOSS, which is predominantly autobiographical. I will be sharing photos so that you may travel with me from your favorite armchair as I offer the flavor of Eliot's "good old Griff!" and other exciting locations with you. I also have video footage to share. The interview with John Burton, Chair of the George Eliot Fellowship, went on for three days as we dashed about the Midlands sharing tidbits as Eliot enthusiasts do. I am deeply indebted to John Burton and his wife, Lynda, for taking their time to respond to my individual dreams of learning the more personal/local aspects of George Eliot so that I can pursue the publication of GEORGE ELIOT LIVES. To be continued.... (Freda)
Did you know that three of the most revered philosophers in human history all believed in reincarnation? If you remove religion from the equation, making it a non-issue, we see that most can accept that Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle must have had some clues. As a matter of fact, most relgions teach reincarnation too, and Christianity was among them until the Bible was rewritten during the convention of the Council of Nicea in 325 AD. Many omissions were made to early biblical references to reincarnation.
George Eliot's sewing kit.
"Many George Eliot fans ask me if the author was a feminist. She certainly set the tone along with others of her era. She defied restrictions that would have bound more socially acceptable women of the nineteenth century. She chose, instead, the company of men with whom she could express her intellectual ideas. The more she desired the company of men with whom to share new concepts, the more she removed herself from the company of her father, her brother, and close friends of the family. George Eliot fought to be accepted by men and even used a man's name to get her work published.
Eventually, likeminded women who sought social reform, began to follow Eliot's work, and soon she was writing to royalty in her own country and penning letters to her devoted readers in America. She wrote to Harriet Beecher Stowe about equality, freedom, and social reform in relation to her novels. Eliot met Ralph Waldo Emerson who was to have a profound affect on her thinking, so it is only natural that she would communicate openly with other Transcendentalists who were active in social reform in America. It is said that Emily Dickinson admired George Eliot. On the wall in Emily's room, a portrait of George Eliot is hung between the two windows that connected her with the world below. Quite symbolic!
I would not go so far as to say that Eliot was a feminist because she was happy to be at home with her soulmate, George Lewes, playing the part of the devoted woman in the relationship. But George Eliot was certainly a precursor to modern feminism, thumbing her nose at society by keeping only those traditional values which suited her. She stands out in her ability to relate with the common people of her time even though she herself was quite uncommon. Her heroines were strong in a quiet sort of way, and usually very feminine. Under the surface of each strong character was a reflection of Eliot's own. She lived out her desire for a "reformed" life through her books, and by doing so, brought her century into the industrial revolution with a proper dose of social reform softened by her gentility." ~ Freda M. Chaney, D.D.
Of all of George Eliot's novels, THE MILL ON THE FLOSS is the one that is closest to home for me. It almost feels as though I'd written the book about my own life. It is a bit elementary and even "sappy" at times, but clearly Eliot speaks to me in this novel. I found dozens of parallels between our lives. If you are looking for a great first Eliot novel to read, try SILAS MARNER, and then move on to MIDDLEMARCH, her masterpiece!