ALL-IN-ALL: A Biography of George Eliot by LouAnn Gaeddert

ALL-IN-ALL: A Biography of George Eliot

Email this review


Gaeddert's life of George Eliot is unlikely to send readers running for copies of Silas Marner or Adam Bede, but those who might discover and enjoy the novels on their own (or in English class) will also enjoy this gentle, literate portrait of the author. Twin acts of rebellion--Eliot's refusal to attend church which caused a dramatic, though temporary break with her father and, of course, her common-law marriage to George Lewes--are the dramatic high points, but the intensity that lead to violent swings between piety and atheism in her youth and equally violent headaches in later years is captured, if not analyzed. Gaeddert is also sensible about the issue of feminism; though both the novels and her alliance with Lewes inspired feminists, Eliot herself spoke slightingly of ""silly women novelists,"" feared that women would try to do work beyond their capabilities, and relied on Lewes, her ""all-in-all,"" to shield her from the criticisms of reviewers, publishers, and friends. Inviting quotes from the novels illuminate biographical points but the sort of uncritical plot glosses that often pack biographies at this level are blessedly absent; instead we have a warm, sympathetic narrative that stands on its own.

Pub Date: Oct. 14th, 1976
Publisher: Dutton