Mary Anne Evans (1819-1880) worked for many years as an editor (frequently without compensation) before turning rather late in life to authoring fiction. Adam Bede, her first novel, was an instant success and is often considered the first English novel in the Realism school. Her next novel, Silas Marner, was (and is) very popular, as well; a later novel, Middlemarch, is perhaps her most critically acclaimed work. Evans used the male pseudonym "George Eliot" because, as an unmarried woman openly living with a prominent married man, her own identity was associated with terrific scandal. Interestingly, her lover (George Henry Lewes) was much less affected by the scandal, and was able to continue publishing under his own name, a circumstance which reveals a great deal about Victorian cultural standards in regard to gender roles.
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