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2002 articles 1982 articles

A new portrait of George Eliot?

Paul Goldman

Abstract

FOR an author who was at once both lionized in some quarters, and despised in others, it is remarkable that descriptions of George Eliot's appearance are so much at variance. On one hand is the unkind, but memorable yet still unattributed line, 'Have you seen a horse, sir? Then you have seen George Eliot!' In contrast are the words of John Fiske, an American admirer, who wrote to his wife, 'She is much better looking than George Sand . . . her features are regular, her nose is very good, her eyes are a rich blue and very expressive, her mouth is very large, but it is pleasant in expression. Her hair is light and profuse and she wears a lovely lace cap over it . . .'

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