Silas Marner (Collector's Library) by George Eliot
George Eliot's novel centers on Silas Marner, the weaver of Raveloe, a village facing industrialization. Devastating events that occurred during one of Silas's cataleptic fits forced him into a withdrawn half-life, reviled by his neighbors, existing only for work and his golden guineas. But his gold is stolen and soon after the child Eppie mysteriously enters his life, awakening him to the redemptive power of love. Eliot's novel combines irony, humor and sharp social comment, demonstrating a profound knowledge of the human heart.
Mary Ann Evans, who wrote as George Eliot, was born in Warwickshire in 1819, the daughter of a land agent. In 1841, when her father retired (her mother had died some years earlier), she moved with him to Foleshill, near Coventry, and was accepted among the intellectual circles there. In 1842 she rejected the Church, and over succeeding years she discarded religion altogether. Her translation of David Friedrich Strauss's The Life of Jesus, Critically Examined was published in 1846 by John Chapman. Chapman purchased the radical journal the Westminster Review in 1851, and the following year Evans became his assistant editor, remaining so until 1854. In 1853 she began living with one of her fellow contributors, George Henry Lewes, and they remained happily together until he died in 1878.
In 1857 the stories that make up her Scenes of Clerical Life (1858) were serialised in Blackwood's Magazine. Novels soon followed: Adam Bede (1859), The Mill on the Floss (1860), Silas Marner (1861), Romola (1862-3), Felix Holt the Radical (1866), Middlemarch (1871-2) and Daniel Deronda (1874-6).
In 1880, a couple of years after Lewes's death, Evans married John Walter Cross. She died only a few months later.