There were other women writers in the 19th century, but Eliot alone left the family circle to follow her own devices at a time when unmarried women generally kept house for others. What is more, she moved in unconventional and Bohemian circles. Her long and loving relationship with the previously married G. H. Lewes scandalized even her closest friends. She was generally admired but shunned socially, except by the boldest radicals and feminists. Rosemary Ashton examines Adam Bede, Silas Marner, The Mill on the Floss, Felix Holt and the unsurpassed Middlemarch, which all explore the tension between the urge to conform and the imperatives of both the heart and the mind - a paradox which is reflected in George Eliot's life. This biography is a examination of the life and the writing of George Eliot.