Letter from George Eliot to Mary Sibree

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This letter written by Eliot in 1841 to Mary Sibree, a Coventry friend, gives us an early insight into Eliot’s character; Eliot is both apologetic and humorous. By including a quote from Shakespeare, the French “tete-a-tete” and the reference to the Mr McDonald lectures we have evidence of her level of education, desire for further learning and forward-thinking. Eliot also mentions that she has a bad headache, and this is something that she suffered with throughout her life along with depression and other health problems. At this time, she was writing reviews and translating, but her early writing style in this letter suggests her suitability for fiction.

Click here to read a transcript of this letter.

(Original letter at Warwickshire County Record Office, facsimile at Nuneaton Library. Letters held in the collection are also available online.) https://www.flickr.com/photos/56273443@N04/collections/72157628997755395