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The Life of George Eliot: A Critical Biography

The life story of the Victorian novelist George Eliot is as dramatic and complex as her best plots. Henry’s new assessment of her life and work combines recent biographical research with penetrating literary criticism, resulting in revealing new interpretations of her literary work. A fresh look at George Eliot’s captivating life storyIncludes original new analysis of her writingDeploys the latest biographical researchCombines literary criticism with biographical narrative to offer a rounded perspective.


  • “Henry provides a useful reminder that that old-fashioned pejorative, adulteress, might have been applied to Eliot as well as to Agnes, and she provides a sensitive analysis of the novels in the light of that insight.” (The New Yorker, 6 August 2012)
  • “Driven neither by hero-worship or spite, Henry’s “critical biography” demonstrates what treasure there is still to be found in even the most worked-over subjects. The trick is to ask the questions that everyone else assumed had been answered years ago.” (The Guardian, 2 June 2012)
  • “Such insights fill this book, which shows penetrating intelligence from first to last. Nancy Henry has managed, seamlessly but always with needed distinctions, to unite, in exacting interrelation and with edges sharp, George Eliot’s lived experience and imaginative experience.” (George Eliot-G.H. Lewes Studies, 1 September 2012)
  • “Nancy Henry’s new biography of George Eliot is truly a new biography of George Eliot. Henry writes with all thirty-seven of her predecessors in mind as she carefully selects the material that needs repeating, discarding, or modifying. Her massive bibliography results from her thorough research, something difficult to achieve with a figure like George Eliot about whom so much is written, but for which she has gained a reputation as a most conscientious–I would say the most conscientious–of George Eliot scholars.” —Kathleen McCormack, Florida International University

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