Middlemarch is re-issued under George Eliot’s real name

PUBLISHED: 12:42 17 August 2020

Reclaim her name is a scheme to publish the novels of authors in their original names including George Eliot/Mary Ann Evans

Reclaim her name is a scheme to publish the novels of authors in their original names including George Eliot/Mary Ann Evans

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The move to re-issue 25 titles by female authors written under a male pseudonym marks the 25th anniversary of the Women’s Prize for Fiction

A view of the grave of writer George Eliot (1819-1880), pseudonym of Mary Ann Cross (nee Evans), and author of Middlemarch, in Highgate Cemetery East in Highgate, north London.A view of the grave of writer George Eliot (1819-1880), pseudonym of Mary Ann Cross (nee Evans), and author of Middlemarch, in Highgate Cemetery East in Highgate, north London.

George Eliot’s masterpiece Middlemarch is among 25 titles by female authors re-released under their original names to mark the anniversary of the Women’s Prize For Fiction.

Born Mary Ann Evans, she adopted the nom de plume in 1857 taking the forename of her lover George Lewes, and a surname that she said was “a good mouth-filling, easily pronounced word”.

Eliot died in 1880 and is buried in Highgate Cemetery under a gravestone which records both her pen name and married name of Mary Ann Cross.

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The Reclaim her Name collection is available to download free as e-books and includes work by French novelist George Sand under her real name Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin, and Violet Paget (aka Vernon Lee).

Featuring cover artwork by female designers, it marks the 25th anniversary of the Women’s Prize For Fiction, and champions female writers dating back to the 19th century who for various reasons chose to publish their work under male pseudonyms.

Organisers Bailey’s, who sponsor the prize hope to “give them the visibility and credit, they deserve and encourage important conversations around persisting challenges to women’s contribution to literature past and present”.

They say that although sexist attitudes have changed considerably, female authors still experience gender bias and use male pseudonyms to either conceal their identity or level the playing field.

Author Kate Moss, founder of the Women’s Prize for Fiction, said “it’s a lovely way to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Prize, by doing what we always strive to do – empowering women, igniting conversations and ensuring that they get the recognition they deserve”.

www.baileys.com/en-gb/reclaim-her-name-campaign.


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