Home > About George Eliot > Chronology


The George Eliot Archive’s interactive chronology (below) details the events of George Eliot’s life as determined by the existing documentary evidence. This project began in collaboration with Timothy Hands, whose A George Eliot Chronology (1989) provides the foundational information that we have updated and expanded with additional biographical information gleaned from Eliot’s letters and journals.

Eliot's contemporary, Oscar Browning, prophesized this level of biographical detail when he wrote, "Some day, perhaps, George Eliot will undergo the fate of Goethe. We shall know how she spent every week of her existence, and how far the scenes of her novels, even the most sensational, are records of her own trials and experience."

There are over 3,000 lines of data here. To browse a particular date range, click on the decade, then year, and then months and dates you wish to see. In future iterations of the George Eliot Chronology, the 60,000-word text will be searchable.

Parenthetical citations: "Letters" refers to the George Eliot Letters, vols 1-9, edited by Gordon Haight (Yale UP, 1954-1978); "Cross" refers to George Eliot's Life as Related in her Journals and Letters (1885) by John Cross (George Eliot Archive, 2018); Journals refers to The Journals of George Eliot, edited by Margaret Harris and Judith Johnson (Cambridge UP, 1998).

The Archive thanks Timothy Hands most of all for permission to use his work as our foundation. Editorial assistants including Antje Anderson, Charlotte Fiehn, Tom Joudry, Brenda MacKay, Kathleen McCormack, Bob Muscutt, Beverley Rilett, and Aurora Wheeler, contributed content and revision suggestions to the chronology. Your suggestions are welcome at brilett2@unl.edu.