Mary Anne Evans (1819-1880), better known by her pen name George Eliot, was an English novelist. She was one of the leading writers of the Victorian era. Her novels, largely set in provincial England, are well known for their realism and psychological perspicacity. Female authors published freely under their own names, but Eliot wanted to ensure that she was not seen as merely a writer of romances. An additional factor 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. Her first major literary work was the translation of David Straussâ¿¿ Life of Jesus (1846). In 1857 The Sad Fortunes of the Reverend Amos Barton, the first of the Scenes of Clerical Life, was published in Blackwoodâ¿¿s Magazine and, along with the other Scenes, was well received. Her first complete novel, published in 1859, was Adam Bede and was an instant success. Eliotâ¿¿s most famous work, Middlemarch, was a turning point in the history of the novel.