George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans)
Born: 22 Nov, 1819
Died: 22 Dec, 1880
Field: Writer; novelist
Location in the Abbey: South transept, poets corner
Type of memorial: Stone
Type of material: Stone

On 21 June 1980 a memorial stone for George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans), novelist, was unveiled in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey. The sculptor was John Skelton and the inscription reads:

"GEORGE ELIOT Mary Ann Evans 1819-1880 Buried at Highgate"

Around the edge of the stone is:

"The first condition of human goodness is something to love; the second something to reverence".

The stone is set between memorials to Dylan Thomas and W.H.Auden and the quote is taken from Scenes of Clerical Life. Mary Ann Evans was born at South Farm, Arbury near Nuneaton on 22 November 1819. In 1841 she moved to Coventry and she later travelled abroad. Back in London she edited the Westminster Review. In 1854 she went to Germany with George Henry Lewes and lived with him there. Her first work of fiction was Scenes from Clerical Life, a book about people and places in her native town, followed by Adam Bede, published under the nom de plume George Eliot. Her other well-known works are Mill on the Floss and Middlemarch. In May 1880 she married a banker John Walter Cross but died a few months later on 22 December 1880. She is buried at Highgate cemetery in London. Many modern critics regard her as the greatest novelist of the 19th century.

 

A photo of the stone can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library.

 

Further reading:

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004