Most readers know Mary Anne Evans (22 November 1819 – 22 December 1880) by her pen name George Eliot, one of the leading writers of the Victorian era.
Evans wrote seven novels, including Adam Bede (1859), The Mill on the Floss (1860), Silas Marner (1861), Middlemarch (1871–72), and Daniel Deronda (1876), most of them set in provincial England and known for their realism and psychological insight.
She used a male pen name to ensure her works would be taken seriously. An additional factor in her use of a pen name may have been a desire to shield her private life from public scrutiny and to prevent scandals attending her relationship with the married George Henry Lewes, with whom she lived for over 20 years.
Her 1872 work, Middlemarch, has been described as the greatest novel in the English language.