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George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans)

On 21st 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 22nd 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 22nd December 1880. She is buried at Highgate cemetery in London. Many modern critics regard her as the greatest novelist of the 19th century.

Further reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Born

22nd November 1819

Died

22nd December 1880

Memorial

21st June 1980

Field

Writer; novelist

Location

South Transept; Poets' Corner

Memorial Type

Stone

Material Type

Stone

George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans)
George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans)

[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans)
George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans) memorial

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2018 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

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At different times of the day, or in different seasons, the light falling in the Abbey will light up something that you have walked past a million times and never seen before.

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Vanessa, Head of Conservation

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