Quotations From GEORGE ELIOT [MARY ANN (OR MARIAN) EVANS]


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  • ... his rank penetrated them as though it had been an odour.
    George Eliot [Mary Ann (or Marian) Evans] (1819-1880), British novelist. Middlemarch, ch. 58 (1871-1872). Of a baronet's son being introduced to guests at the home of a physician of modest circumstances. This fictional scene took place in a small English village in the early 1830s.
  • Our sense of duty must often wait for some work which shall take the place of dilettanteism [sic] and make us feel that the quality of our action is not a matter of indifference.
    George Eliot [Mary Ann (or Marian) Evans] (1819-1880), British novelist. Middlemarch, ch. 46 (1871-1872).

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  • Ignorance ... is a painless evil; so, I should think, is dirt, considering the merry faces that go along with it.
    George Eliot [Mary Ann (or Marian) Evans] (1819-1880), British novelist. repr. In Scenes of Clerical Life (1858). Mr. Gilfil's Love-Story, ch. 3, first published in Blackwood's Magazine (1857).

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  • Will not a tiny speck very close to our vision blot out the glory of the world, and leave only a margin by which we see the blot? I know no speck so troublesome as self.
    George Eliot [Mary Ann (or Marian) Evans] (1819-1880), British novelist. Middlemarch, ch. 42 (1871-1872).

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  • The reward of one duty is the power to fulfil another.
    George Eliot [Mary Ann (or Marian) Evans] (1819-1880), British novelist. Moredecai, quoting a Hebrew sage, in Daniel Deronda, bk. 6, ch. 46 (1874-1876). Real name: Mary Ann (or Marian) Evans.

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  • The presence of a noble nature, generous in its wishes, ardent in its charity, changes the lights for us: we begin to see things again in their larger, quieter masses, and to believe that we too can be seen and judged in the wholeness of our character.
    George Eliot [Mary Ann (or Marian) Evans] (1819-1880), British novelist. Middlemarch, ch. 76 (1871-1872).

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  • Genius at first is little more than a great capacity for receiving discipline.
    George Eliot [Mary Ann (or Marian) Evans] (1819-1880), British novelist, editor. Kleismer, in Daniel Deronda, bk. 3, ch. 23 (1876).
  • ... by desiring what is perfectly good, even when we don't quite know what it is and cannot do what we would, we are part of the divine power against evil—widening the skirts of light and making the struggle with darkness narrower.
    George Eliot [Mary Ann (or Marian) Evans] (1819-1880), British novelist. Middlemarch, ch. 39 (1871-1872).

    Read more quotations about / on: evil, light, power
  • I tell you there isn't a thing under the sun that needs to be done at all, but what a man can do better than a woman, unless it's bearing children, and they do that in a poor make-shift way; it had better ha' been left to the men.
    George Eliot [Mary Ann (or Marian) Evans] (1819-1880), British novelist, editor. Bartle Massey, in Adam Bede, bk. 2, ch. 21 (1859).

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  • ...Fielding lived when the days were longer (for time, like money, is measured by our needs).
    George Eliot [Mary Ann (or Marian) Evans] (1819-1880), British novelist. Middlemarch, ch. 15, 1871-1872. Henry Fielding (1707-1754) was an important British novelist.

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