“Middlemarch, a Study of Provincial Life” is a novel by George Eliot. The novel was originally published over the course of 1871 and 1872 in eight separate installments. Although initial reviews were mixed, the novel is now considered to be Eliot’s best and most famous work and a classic novel of English literature.
The novel revolves around the lives of the residents of an English town called Middlemarch. Dorothea Brooke, an orphan who lives with her wealthy uncle and wishes to reform the living situations of the tenants on his land. Mr. Casaubon, an elderly clergyman who marries Dorothea hoping to get a helpmate and discovers that she wants to continue her activism despite his distaste for it. Will Ladislaw, Casaubon’s young cousin, who falls in love with Dorothea and incurs the wrath of the jealous Casaubon.
Lydgate, the new surgeon in town who goes against his vow to never marry by marrying the beautiful Rosamond, a woman who is only interested in him because she believes that he is wealthy. And Mr. Bulstrode, the wealthy banker who is hiding a dark secret from his first marriage.
The novel has been adapted several times including a BBC miniseries in 1968 and 1994 and a stage adaptation in 2013.
In the first book, the characters of Dorothea and Celia Brooke are introduced. Dorothea and Celia are orphans from a wealthy family that now live with their uncle, Mr. Brooke in an estate called Tipton Grange. Dorothea is a dour woman, who dresses plainly and spends her time trying to do charity work. She has spent years trying to persuade her uncle to improve the homes of the tenants on his estate. Mr. Brooke worries that this type of activism coupled with her sullen energy will hinder Dorothea’s marriage chances. However, many of the men in the area seem to find her enchanting, in particular, Sir James Chettam, whom Dorothea mistakenly believes is interested in her sister, Celia.
Sir James informs Mr. Brooke during a dinner party at the house that he intends to use some of his money to improve the conditions of the tenants on his own estate. Mr. Brooke dismisses the idea, saying that Sir James spends too much on the tenants already, but Dorothea quips that Sir James spends much more on his own entertainment than on anything else. The quip is overheard by Mr. Casaubon, a middle-aged clergyman whom Dorothea admires.
Over the next few weeks, Dorothea and Casaubon begin spending more time together, both enjoying one another’s Puritan company. Dorothea realizes that she wishes to marry Casaubon. Trying to win back her attention, Sir James says that he wants to help with her “plan for cottages,” or her plan to create better housing for the tenants on her uncle’s estate. Sir James says that he wants to follow this plan at Freshitt, his own estate, which delights Dorothea. But soon, Celia warns Dorothea that Sir James is in love with her. Dorothea is shocked and plans to find ways to discourage him from asking to marry.
Soon, Mr. Brooke tells Dorothea that Casaubon has asked for her hand in marriage and she accepts immediately. Celia and Mr. Brooke aren’t sure why Dorothea would want to marry Casaubon over Sir James, but they respect her decision. Sir James is shocked and saddened to learn of the news but keeps working on the cottage plan with Dorothea anyway.
The Brookes visit Casaubon’s house, Lowick manor where they meet a young artist named Will Ladislaw who turns out to be Casaubon’s second cousin. Casaubon tells Dorothea that Will is the grandson of an aunt who made a bad marriage. Casaubon fears that Will has no ambition but has agreed to pay for him to take a trip overseas to find a profession. Eager to get the marriage moving forward so that they can return to their charity works, Casaubon and Dorothea have an engagement party soon after, where they meet the new, young surgeon in town, Lydgate.
Lydgate likes Dorothea but prefers the company of the mayor’s daughter, Rosamond Vincy. Rosamond is interested in Lydgate because she wishes to marry a man who is not from Middlemarch. She and her brother, Fred, go to visit their uncle, Peter Featherstone. The siblings are set to inherit Featherstone’s money when he dies as he is childless. However, Featherstone is angry at Fred for racking up gambling debts around town. Featherstone lives with his niece from his first marriage, Mary Garth, who cares for him and acts as a companion. Fred is in love with Mary and has been since he was a child.
Fred worries that Mary will discover his gambling debts. Featherstone tells Fred that he must procure a letter from Mr. Bulstrode, the town banker to prove that he is not in any debt. As they leave the house, Fred anxiously asks Rosamond if Mary mentioned him, but she only answers that Mary said that she thinks that he is unreliable and that she would refuse to marry him if he asked.
Lydgate has been hurt by romantic entanglements before. He once fell in love with an actress who was accused of killing her former husband. It was only after Lydgate helped get clear her name that she admitted that she was guilty. He stopped seeing her and swore off courtship for a long time. Now he is a medical school with a benefactor that pays for his education. His dream is to make a great advancement in medicine.
Initially, Bulstrode does not want to write the letter for Fred, clearing his debt. But he finally agrees, and Fred gives the letter to Featherstone, who gives him one hundred pounds as a gift. Fred attempts to get Mary to promise to marry him, but she refuses. She suggests that he finish his examine to become a clergyman, but Fred does not want to be a clergyman.
Lydgate spends more time with Rosamond and falls more in love with her, although he still does not want to marry for many years. Rosamond believes that Lydgate comes from a rich, titled family and wants to marry him so that she will live a rich lifestyle. Lydgate is soon called upon to vote for a new chaplain for the town. He struggles with the moral differences between the two candidates, one of whom is supporting his entire family on a small salary but has gambling debts. Eventually, Lydgate votes for the other candidate, Tyke instead.
While Will Ladislaw is traveling in Rome, he bumps into Dorothea who has recently married Casaubon. Dorothea is unhappy in her marriage because she feels that, despite what Casaubon told her when they were courting, he doesn’t want her to help him with his charity work. Will begins to fall in love with Dorothea and goes to see her when he knows that his cousin will not be home. He tells her that he feels bad for her being shut up in the dreary Lowick manor, but Dorothea insists that it was her choice. Will decide that he wants to be financially independent and stop taking money from Casaubon. He also hopes to impress Dorothea, and she does admire his decision.
When Dorothea tells Casaubon about Will’s decision, Casaubon tells Dorothea to never mention Will to him again as he is of little interest.
Fred uses Featherstone’s gift to buy a new horse, hoping to sell it at a profit to pay his debt. However, the horse turns out to be untamed and lames itself while struggling against him. Fred goes to Mary’s parents, The Garths for money as Mr. Garth was the co-signer on one of his loans. The Garths are not wealthy and lend him money although they must drain not only their savings but Mary’s as well. Fred goes to Featherstone’s estate to confess his gambling debt to Mary. Mary’s teenage brother was to be an apprentice, but the fee that has to be paid to the master has now been given to Fred. Fred suggests that Mary ask Featherstone for the fee, but Mary says that her family prefers to earn money rather than beg for it. Mary gets angry at Fred and calls him selfish and good for nothing. Fred returns home, morose.
Fred soon comes down with a fever that turns out to be typhoid. Lydgate is the one that diagnoses him, and he becomes the Vincy, family doctor. Rosamond continues to dream of marrying Lydgate so that she might become rich. Her other suitors become increasingly jealous.
Dorothea returns home from Rome to the news that Celia is engaged to Sir James. Dorothea is still having trouble in her own marriage as Casaubon thought that he was getting an unambitious helpmate when he married her and had found that she continues to try to develop her own activist causes.
As Casaubon and Dorothea are arguing, he suddenly collapses, and Lydgate is sent for. Lydgate tells him that he needs to relax more and work less. Dorothea feels guilty for her husband’s illness, but Lydgate tells her that she is not. However, he says that Casaubon probably only has another fifteen years or so of life and that is only if he is careful. Will writes to Dorothea asking to visit her, but she refuses. Mr. Brooke invites Will to stay at his house without informing her.
Mrs. Bulstrode, the banker’s wife, discovers Rosamond’s true intentions in trying to marry Lydgate and informs him. Lydgate resolves to stay away from Rosamond, but when Featherstone becomes ill, he is obligated to tend to him. Rosamond is at Featherstone’s house when Lydgate visits, and he finds himself enraptured with her again. The two become engaged that day. Featherstone’s health worsens, and his relatives flock from all over the country to see who will get his estate. One night, he tells Mary that he has written two wills and wants to burn one of them. She refuses to do it, and he dies that night.
Dorothea and Celia watch Featherstone’s funeral from a window. Celia tells Dorothea that Will is staying at with their uncle and Casaubon is displeased. He thinks that Dorothea asked her uncle to take in Will and she cannot explain in front of Celia that she didn’t. All of Featherstone’s relatives attend his will reading as well as a frog-eyed stranger that is believed by the others to be his illegitimate son. The first will leaves Featherstone’s money to Fred but his land to Joshua Rigg, the frog-eyed stranger.
The second will revokes the money from Fred and gives everything to Rigg. This is the will that is honored. Mary wonders if her decision to not rip the will deprived Fred of the inheritance. Fred realizes that he is going to have to go forward with becoming a clergyman. Mr. Vincy has second thoughts about letting Rosamond marry, but Rosamond is too used to getting her way to bow to her father’s will. Mr. Vincy warns her that he will not lend her any money after she is married.
In buying a new home and preparing for the marriage, Lydgate’s meager funds rapidly deplete. Rosamond does not know this and begins making plans to leave Middlemarch after they are married. Mr. Brooke hires Will to be the editor of a newspaper that he owns. Mr. Brooke has decided to become a politician and joins the Liberal reform party. Will feel that he wants to stay close to Dorothea to watch over her. He tells her that his grandmother’s bad marriage was to a poor man that her family disapproved of. Will’s mother also married a man that the family disapproved of.
When Will tells Casaubon that he is staying in town, his cousin forbids him from visiting Lowick again, thinking that he and Dorothea are conspiring against him.
Mr. Brooke comes under scrutiny for running on a platform of helping the poor while his own tenants are still suffering. Sir James asks Dorothea to once again attempt to get Brooke to improve his tenants living conditions. Brooke gets flustered with her argument and tells her that she is too hasty. Dorothea also hears that her husband forbade Will from visiting Lowick and becomes angry at Casaubon. Brooke is forced to visit a tenant on his land and is horrified by the living conditions of the family. Mr. Dagley, the tenant, dislikes Brooke and Brooke is upset that he is not universally liked.
Fred leaves to return to college and refuses to say goodbye to anyone out of shame. Mr. Garth is asked by Sir James to manage to Tipton Grange and Freshitt estates. He discovers that Mr. Bulstrode may be planning to buy Featherstone’s old estate from Rigg. At Stone Court, Featherstone’s estate, Rigg argues with his drunk stepfather who has visited to ask for money. Rigg sends him away, but the man sees a letter from Mr. Bulstrode and tucks it in his coat before leaving. Dorothea and Casaubon have another argument about Will but eventually make up, making their marriage happier for a little while.
To keep from hiding things from her husband, Dorothea resolves to stay away from Will. However, she accidentally bumps into him at Rosamond and Lydgate’s house and wonders why he is visiting Rosamond alone. Will is embarrassed when Dorothea, who is clearly trying to get away from him, departs abruptly. Rosamond teases him for being in love with Dorothea. When Dorothea finds Lydgate, he tells her that he has been busy dealing with Bulstrode and regrets wasting time on the hospital’s financial problems rather than seeing patients. Dorothea donates some money to the hospital after this conversation.
Regardless, the hospital does badly because of Lydgate’s support of the reform of medicine and his reluctance to prescribe drugs. Rosamond becomes pregnant, and Lydgate begins to panic that he is racking up a lot of credit in trying to support her lifestyle. Casaubon assumes that Will’s plan in spending time with Dorothea is to get her to marry him after Casaubon dies. However, Will is in love with Dorothea and continues to go out of his way to catch glimpses of her in town when he can. Casaubon’s health grows worse. One night he asks Dorothea to promise him something and when she asks what the promise is he assumes that she is refusing. He goes for a walk and Dorothea, intent on making up for him, goes to search for him, finding that he has died on a bench on the grounds.
After Casaubon’s funeral, Dorothea discovers that in his will, he forbade her from marrying Will. If she marries will, she will lose all of her husband’s former property and money. Discovering that her husband was suspicious of her relationship with Will angers Dorothea. Lydgate regrets allowing Tyke to become the Chaplain and goes to Dorothea to get her to allow the other man, Farebrother to take over the parish. He says that Farebrother is a friend of Will without realizing that this recommendation on turns her against Farebrother.
Mr. Brooke sends Will away from Tipton Grange because of Casaubon’s will. Will do not know this is the reason, and assumes that Dorothea has asked Brooke to send him away. However, he stays in the neighborhood to coach Brooke through the election. Brooke gives a political speech that goes badly, with the crowd heckling him and pelting him with eggs. Melancholy, Brooke resolves to give up politics and sell his newspaper. He tells Will that he is out of a job and this furthers Will’s suspicions that Brooke is trying to get rid of him.
Farebrother does become Chaplain of the parish and his family encourage him to court, Mary Garth, now that he will have enough money to marry. Fred asks Farebrother to ask Mary if she would marry him. Farebrother asks, and Mary repeats her assertion that she will not marry Fred unless he settles down or if he becomes a clergyman. Mary does love Fred, however, and turns down Farebrother’s hints of a courtship with himself. Bulstrode purchases Stone Court but worries that his reputation will be destroyed if it is revealed that he did everything he could to prevent his first wife from finding her missing daughter. The daughter’s married name was Ladislaw.
Will visit Lowick and tells Dorothea that he plans to leave Middlemarch soon. The visit is interrupted by Sir James who dislikes Will. Dorothea’s relatives plan to marry her off again soon to kill the gossip about her and Will, but Dorothea declares that she will never marry again. Dorothea hires Mr. Garth to run her estate, and Fred asks Garth if he would hire him as an assistant. He confesses that he is in love with Mary and that she won’t have him if he is a clergyman. Garth decides to hire Fred. Fred visits the Garth House to speak with Mrs. Garth in the hopes of winning her over. Mrs. Garth wanted Mary to marry Farebrother and informs a surprised Fred that Farebrother is also in love with Mary.
Fred goes to find Mary and finds her in the company of Farebrother’s mother and sister. He tells her that he feels like she is going to throw him over for Farebrother and that he has no chance with her. The idea of having a rival for her affections has upset him. Mary informs him that he is unfair to Farebrother assuming that the man is trying to win her away from Fred’s back. Fred is relieved by this conversation but still jealous.
Lydgate’s cousin, Captain Lydgate visits and takes Rosamond out horseback riding. Lydgate forbids his wife from riding because of her pregnancy, but she ignores him. Unfortunately, she has a fall and miscarries that pregnancy. The couple’s money problems begin to get serious. Lydgate forbids Rosamond asking her father for money. She wishes to sell everything and leave Middlemarch, but Lydgate refuses this as well.
The gossip about Casaubon’s will begins to permeate Middlemarch. Rosamond accidentally discovers that Will knew nothing about it when she teases him about it. Bulstrode faces blackmail about his secret from a man named John Raffles who knew him during his first marriage and has recently returned to town. Bulstrode’s first wife wanted to marry him but asked him to help locate her missing daughter before she would agree to the ceremony. Bulstrode found Will and his mother but lied about it to his fiancee and bribed John Raffles to keep quiet. After his wife’s death, Bulstrode became wealthy.
Bulstrode meets with Will and tells him that he was married to his grandmother and that her death made him wealthy. He offers Will a share of the inheritance but lies that he never found Will’s mother. Will disbelieve this and Bulstrode finally admits his secret and that he feels guilty for it. Will refuses the money because he feels that it would disappoint Dorothea.
When Farebrother tries to thank Lydgate for helping him get the job as Chaplain, the newly bitter Lydgate rebuffs him. Farebrother is hurt by this.
Lydgate discovers that he needs a thousand pounds to pay off his debts or he will lose his home. Rosamond secretly writes to Sir Godwin, Lydgate’s uncle to ask for money. When Lydgate learns of her betrayal, he is furious. Godwin writes back scolding Lydgate for letting his wife ask for money and confesses that he has no money to spare.
Rosamond and Lydgate argue, and she confesses that she is unhappy in their marriage. Lydgate goes to the local pub to sell his horse but begins playing billiards and taking bets. He gets on a winning streak but then doesn’t know when to stop and starts losing. Fred sees this and considers betting but thinks better of it. Fred tries to get Lydgate to stop betting by asking him to come with him to meet with Farebrother. Farebrother tells Fred that he intends to court Mary himself if Fred doesn’t stay away from the gambling dens. Bulstrode, who is in poor health, tells Lydgate that he is considering leaving Middlemarch. He also tells him to ask Dorothea to increase her contribution to the hospital. Lydgate asks Bulstrode for a loan, but Bulstrode tells him to declare bankruptcy. John Raffles becomes ill and tells Mr. Garth Bulstrode’s secret. Mr. Garth tells Bulstrode what he knows and declines to do any further business with him.
Lydgate looks in on Raffles and tells Bulstrode not to give the man any alcohol. Bulstrode considers disobeying this order to kill Raffles. Lydgate is confused about why Bulstrode is helping Raffles. Lydgate is forced to sell all of his furniture, and the word gets out in the papers that he is poor. Bulstrode tells Lydgate that he has changed his mind and will loan him the money. Lydgate is pleased and leaves Raffles and Bulstrode alone. Bulstrode gives Raffles some brandy, knowing that it will kill the man. But it is too late, Raffles told someone before he died of Bulstrode’s misdeed and the gossip has already spread through town. On top of this, suspicions begin to grow surrounding Raffles death in Bulstrode’s care.
At a town meeting, the accusations against Bulstrode are leveled, and Bulstrode flees in shame. Lydgate begins to piece together the loan Bulstrode gave him with the fact that he was sent away from Raffles’ death bed. After learning of what happened at the meeting, Dorothea demands that Farebrother and Mr. Brooke help Lydgate to clear his name from the accusations that he took a bribe to overlook Raffles’ death.
Mrs. Bulstrode learns of what happened at the meeting and the accusations against her husband from Mr. Vincy, who carefully assures her that no one is blaming her. Mrs. Bulstrode prepares to leave her husband, but when she sees him, she is overcome by pity and resolves to stand by him.
Rosamond is so happy to be free of debt that she decides to throw a dinner party. She misses Will and is jealous of his love for Dorothea. However, all of the invitations to her party are declined. Rosamond discovers that her husband is under suspicion for being complicit in Raffles death from her parents who tell her that she and Lydgate will probably have to leave town. Lydgate figures out that his wife knows about the scandal and is disappointed when she doesn’t immediately tell him that she knows he is innocent.
Dorothea, however, does tell him that she thinks he is innocent and that she is trying to clear his name. Lydgate is touched by her support but still feels that he must leave town for Rosamond’s sake. Dorothea goes to Bulstrode to take over Lydgate’s debt to him. When she gets there, she sees Will comforting Rosamond and leaves quickly. She begins to wonder if Lydgate’s marriage troubles come from Will seducing Rosamond. Will discover that Dorothea thinks this and is bereft at the idea that she would think so low of him. He fights with Rosamond over his love for Dorothea. When Lydgate returns home, Rosamond collapses into his arms, sobbing.
Will returns later, and Lydgate tells him that Rosamond is ill. He also tells Will that people suspect him of being involved in the Lydgate/Bulstrode scandal and Will is not surprised. He assumes people think that he and Bulstrode conspired to kill Raffles. He doesn’t tell Lydgate that he refused money from Bulstrode shortly before Lydgate accepted it.
Dorothea visits the Lydgate house again and takes over the debt from Bulstrode. Crying, Rosamond tells her that she is wrong to think badly of Will and that he has not tried to seduce her because he loves another woman. Rosamond tells Will about the conversation, and Will asks to speak to Dorothea. He tells Dorothea about Bulstrode offering him money and that he refused but he has to endure the gossip about his parents around town.
Will and Dorothea kiss but Will says that they can never marry because of Casaubon’s will. Dorothea announces that she doesn’t want Casaubon’s money and that she still has money from her deceased parents and Mr. Brooke to live off of. They agree to marry which angers Sir James who hates Will and wants his own son to inherit Tipton and Freshitt. Dorothea and Will move to London together. Bulstrode prepares to leave town as well and asks his wife to ask Mr. Garth if he will manage Stone Court so that Fred can live there.
Garth tells Fred and Mary about the offer, and the two are delighted. They marry and settle in Stone Court, living comfortably together, although not rich. Lydgate leaves Middlemarch and sets up another practice which becomes more successful. His marriage is never happy again, and after he dies at fifty, Rosamond marries a wealthy doctor. Will and Dorothea work together for tenant reform and their son later inherits Tipton Grange.
Dorothea Brooke – Dorothea is a clever, kind young woman who wishes to be an activist, helping the tenants on her uncle’s estate improve their living conditions. Dorothea marries the elderly Casaubon, assuming that his love of activism will go well with her own. However, after the marriage, she quickly realizes that Casaubon does not intend to let her continue her work as he assumed that when they married she would settle down and live as nothing more than a helpmate.
Dorothea becomes close with Casaubon’s cousin, Will Ladislaw when her marriage begins to falter, and Casaubon assumes that the two are romantically entangled. But Dorothea attempts to distance herself from the gossip surrounding her and Will around town by staying away from Will altogether. Though Dorothea cares for Will, she is used to suppressing her desires and living a Puritan lifestyle. Dorothea is kind and helpful to the people in town. When she hears of Lydgate and Bulstrode’s scandal, she instantly begins seeking a way to clear their names. In the end, Dorothea marries Will, and the gets the husband she always wanted to help her fight for her cause.
Will Ladislaw – Will is the young second cousin of Casaubon who meets Dorothea and begins to fall in love with her almost immediately. In the beginning, Casaubon sees Will as something of a charity case as he is the scandal of the family. Will’s grandmother was shunned for marrying beneath her station as was his mother. When Will was a baby, his grandmother tried to find he and his mother but was prevented from it by Bulstrode.
Will is an artist and a free spirit. He refuses the money that Bulstrode offers him because he feels that it is dirty and refuses to let Casaubon pay for his lifestyle anymore when he realizes how poorly he is treating Dorothea. Will the novel married to Dorothea and living in London.
Dr. Lydgate – Lydgate is the surgeon in Middlemarch. Though he has a wealthy family, he is poor, and his education is funded by his uncle. Lydgate is idealistic and wishes to promote reform in the medical community. He wants to make a great stride in the field in his life at some point. Lydgate has suffered heartbreak before from a former fiancee and refused to marry in the beginning.
Unfortunately, when he marries Rosamond his life becomes mired in debt and despair. Lydgate charges up massive credit trying to keep Rosamond in a wealthy lifestyle and only pulls himself out from under it when Bulstrode offers him a loan. But taking the loan soon lands him under suspicion of being bribed to cover up Raffles death.
In the end, Lydgate leaves Middlemarch with Rosamond to open a practice in another town. He is never happy in his marriage because he feels that he has sacrificed his ideals to make Rosamond happy.
Rosamond Vincy/Lydgate – Rosamond is a vain, shallow woman who is only interested in money and what it can do for her. She continues to court male attention even after she is married, particularly from Will. Rosamond is desperate to leave Middlemarch as she considers it low society and only marries Lydgate because she assumes that he has a rich family elsewhere and will want to return to them soon. Rosamond refuses to economize after she and her husband fall on hard times and insists on asking anyone she can for a loan. However, she does show her goodness by repairing the relationship of Dorothea and Will.
George Eliot Biography
George Eliot was born as Mary Ann Evans on November 22, 1819, in Warwickshire, England. Her father, Robert Evans, was the manager of the Arbury Hall Estate and her mother was Christiana Evans, the daughter of a local mill owner. She had a sister and brother and a half sister.
Since Mary Ann was considered to be too intelligent and not pretty enough to land a husband, she was given the best education. She studied all the classics, including Greek, which came to influence her writing.
Coming from a devoutly religious family, Mary Ann questioned the beliefs, which angered her father later in life. When she was sixteen, her mother died, and Mary Ann quit school to keep house for her father. She also began to write, and by the time of his death when she was thirty, she had become a published magazine author.
She became friends with literary people, joining Charles and Cara Bray, who led groups of writers including Ralph Waldo Emerson. Five days after her father’s death, Mary Ann traveled to Geneva, where she settled for a while.
In 1851, she met George Henry Lewes. Although he was already legally married, the two began to live together in 1854. She began to write under the pen name George Eliot because she wanted her books to be taken seriously. It is commonly assumed that her pen name was an homage to her lover. George, which was his first name, and Eliot which was supposed to be a code for “to L – I owe it.” There were a lot of women writing at the time, but most women wrote romances, and that’s not what she wanted to write.
With the success of her first books, Eliot began to have a lot of fans. When she finally came out as the writer, Mary Ann, who had been shunned by polite society because of her relationship with a married man, was now accepted by the Queen, who never missed one of her books. Eliot was even introduced to Princess Louise, the daughter of Queen Victoria.
In 1878 George Lewes died, and Mary Ann went on to marry John Cross, two years later. Although her brother decided to forgive her and welcome her back into the family with a legitimate marriage, she still scandalized society since John was twenty years younger than her. During their honeymoon, he tried to commit suicide by jumping off of a balcony into the Grand Canal in Venice. The two settled into married life in Chelsea. She married him in May of 1880, and by December, she had succumbed to a recurring kidney infection coupled with a throat infection. She died at the age of sixty-one.
George Eliot could not be buried in Westminster Abbey because of her lapsed beliefs in the Christian faith, and her relationship that bordered on polygamy with George Lewes. So, she was buried in Highgate Cemetery next to George Lewes. A memorial stone was erected in the Poets’ Corner of Westminster Abbey in 1980, a century after her death.