George Eliot

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George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans)
(1819-1880)

English novelist, journalist, translator (b. 22 November 1819 in Nuneaton; d. 22 December 1880 in London), born Mary Ann Evans, but who wrote under the nom-de-plume George Eliot.

In his biography of the composer, Modest Tchaikovsky recalled that "In his last year, Pyotr Ilyich's favourite writer was George Eliot. He became acquainted with her works on one of his tours abroad and he began with this amazing woman's masterpiece The Mill on the Floss. Only L. Tolstoy could rival her in Pyotr Ilyich's esteem. Adam Bede, Silas Marner and Middlemarch all filled him with delight, and he read them not only once, but re-read them... Romola pleased him least of all, but after Mill on the Floss he liked the Scenes of Clerical Life the most" [1].

According to Modest, the composer intended to compose an opera on the subject of The Sad Fortunes of the Reverend Amos Barton, but later changed his mind in favour of Mr Gilfil's Love Story [2]. After Tchaikovsky's death, a brief scenario for Acts II and III of an opera on Mr Gilfil's Love Story was discovered amongst his papers.

Among the books in Tchaikovsky's library at Klin is a French translation of Eliot's 1859 novel Adam Bede which contains a brief musical sketch by the composer (E minor, 3 bars) that was later struck through.

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