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Monday, 18 May 2015


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Jenny @ Reading the End

I meeeeean -- I don't care what George Eliot looked like, but yeah, like, her nose is not great. I think she could look much prettier with a different haircut, however?

Christine Harding

I've not come across Sophie and the Sibyl, but it sounds fascinating. I don't think George Eliot was ugly, but I do think it's a description which has been used to demean her or lessen her worth.


On the contrary, Jenny, her nose IS great. Heh. Sorry, George. I have to say, I chose the most unflattering picture of her I could, and I still think her smile is magic. As for the haircut, I suspect every woman of her time was similarly afflicted.

Christine, I absolutely agree that discussion of her appearance can be use to demean her and distract from her work, and I think there are perhaps other things too which feed into this.

She lived with a man she never married, which was of course deeply wicked of her; but perhaps if we tell ourselves that she wasn't attractive it makes her less of a floozy and so we can allow ourselves to read her books.

And then also, I think that if you say, well yes she's a brilliant writer and a woman, but look at how ugly she is, then you're trying to say that she's not a typical woman, but unusual, almost a freak. And if she's a freak, and not representative of women, then we can accept that she is freakishly talented without having our ideas about women's inferiority challenged. So she may write books, but you, my pretty dear, may be an angel of the house.

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