For Words Celebrates Queen Victoria and George Eliot

Linda Seidel, professor emerita of English, will present “Birthday Girls: Queen Victoria and George Eliot at 200” at 5:30 p.m. March 20 in Violette Hall 1010. This event is free and open to the public.

Presentation Abstract: Queen Victoria and George Eliot (aka Mary Ann Evans) were both born in 1819, making them 200 years old in 2019. Victoria reigned longer than any previous British monarch, ascending the throne in 1837 at the age of 18; by the time she died in 1901 few Britons could remember a time without her. Eliot, author of “Middlemarch” and member of the newly emergent middle class, has been called by her biographers “the last Victorian” and “the voice of a century” – in other words, a kind embodiment of the age to which Victoria gave her name. Yet it would be a mistake to over-stress their similarities. One was a progressive intellectual, despite her emotional conservatism; the other might be called a Tory populist, at least in that long period after Prince Albert was no longer around to advocate for the more liberal views. Taken together, the lives of these two women give us a powerful glimpse of the time in which they lived while also shaping the world we live in now.

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