ELIOT, George (pseudonym of Mary Anne Evans, 1819-1880). Autograph letter signed (‘M Evans’) to [the Reverend] Mr [William] Griffiths, The Heights, Witley, 25 July 1878.
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ELIOT, George (pseudonym of Mary Anne Evans, 1819-1880). Autograph letter signed (‘M Evans’) to [the Reverend] Mr [William] Griffiths, The Heights, Witley, 25 July 1878.

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ELIOT, George (pseudonym of Mary Anne Evans, 1819-1880). Autograph letter signed (‘M Evans’) to [the Reverend] Mr [William] Griffiths, The Heights, Witley, 25 July 1878.

Four pages, 160 x 98mm, bifolium, printed notepaper. Box.

At the height of her fame, George Eliot despairs of the autograph hunters. She was pleased to receive Griffith’s letter, having ‘often thought of you & Edith in the midst of your pastoral cares’, and explains that ‘we [Mary Anne Evans and George Henry Lewes] now spend our summer & autumn in this country home, feeling less than inclined to travel’, but assures her correspondent that they will happily accept his invitation to visit if they find themselves in their direction, so long as Mr Lewes is well. Unfortunately, the ‘request for autographs I am obliged to refuse, having refused it in other cases. My practice may seem to you churlish, but you would understand it if you saw how many letters I receive, from America especially where the collection of autographs seems to be a trade, begging me to write my name’. Evans carries on in this vein, noting that she has even begged her American publishers to make it known that she never supplies autographs, before moving to family matters: she ‘was grieved to hear of my Brother’s accident [and considers] what it might have been if the dog hadn’t been muzzled’.

Mary Anne Evans writes to the Reverend William Griffiths, whose wife, Edith, was the daughter of Evans’ estranged brother, Isaac. Isaac Evans suspended all social contact with his sister following her decision to live together with the married philosopher and critic George Henry Lewes (1817-1878), but the relationship between the author and her niece survived the cessation in relations between sister and brother.
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