How Mary Ann Evans Became George Eliot
When we visited Cornwall a couple of months ago, we happened on a wonderful performance by Camidge & Stringer, a two-woman team. In a show called “Wish We Weren’t Here,” they drew on primary source materials describing visits to West Cornwall by 19th and early 20th century writers who didn’t think much of their time there. We were much entertained, and I was intrigued to learn that George Eliot once spent a week in Penzance while she and George Lewes waited for the weather to clear so they could take a boat to the Scilly Isles, where Lewes wanted to indulge his scientific investigations.
Once we were home, I wanted to learn more about Eliot’s time in Cornwall. I realized that she was writing her first book of fiction in Penzance, Scenes of Clerical Life, and this was also the time when she was experimenting with how she would be known. My curiosity led to this essay, posted to Literary Ladies Guide.