Hennes egentlige navn var Mary Ann (Marian) Evans. Nå som jeg leser Middlemarch, kom jeg i tanker om Charlotte Brontë som beundret Lewes og brevvekslet med ham, blant annet kan vi lese at hun kritiserte hans fascinasjon for Jane Austen. Uansett, ifølge Elizabeth Gaskell kunne ikke Charlotte like hans privatliv i så henseende, men etter at George Eliot leste Villette skrev hun (dette kom jeg over da jeg leste Villette, hos The Telegraph) følgende:
“Villette! Villette!” wrote George Eliot. “It is a still more wonderful book than Jane Eyre. There is something almost preternatural in its power.” It was unlike the strong-minded Eliot to be reduced to exclamation marks and vague talk of a “something”. But Villette was so innovative for its time, and remains to this day so potently strange, that critics have struggled to find words to describe it. “There are so few books, and so many volumes,” wrote Eliot’s partner GH Lewes. “Among the few stands Villette.” Lewes thought it was unique. Lesser authors were “reverberating the vague noise of others”. Brontë spoke out boldly in a voice that was all her own.