George Eliot (the pen name for Mary Ann Evans) was an English Victorian novelist and journalist who often explored aspects of human psychology in her works.

In 1850, Eliot began contributing to the Westminster Review, and later became its editor. While working there, she met many notable literary figures. One of them was George Henry Lewes, a brilliant philosopher and literary critic with whom she began a long-lasting relationship.

Lewes encouraged Eliot to write more, and in 1859 she published her first novel Adam Bede. Although Evans was already a respected writer, she chose to publish the novel pseudonymously to ensure her works were taken seriously in an era when female authors were unheard or ridiculed.

She continued to write under the pen name George Eliot, mostly using her own experiences as material for her prose. Although she was most famous for her novels, the author also produced two volumes of poetry.

The various film and television adaptations of Eliot’s works have re-introduced her to book lovers and in 2015, Middlemarch was named the greatest British novel of all time by the BBC.

Here are 25 inspiring George Eliot quotes any realist can relate to.

George Eliot quotes

Blessed is the influence of one true, loving human soul on another.

Animals are such agreeable friends – they ask no questions; they pass no criticisms.

Wear a smile and have friends; wear a scowl and have wrinkles.

Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving us wordy evidence of the fact.

Hold up your head! You were not made for failure, you were made for victory. Go forward with a joyful confidence.

It is a narrow mind which cannot look at a subject from various points of view.

Keep true. Never be ashamed of doing right. Decide what you think is right and stick to it.

Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them.

One must be poor to know the luxury of giving.

And, of course men know best about everything, except what women know better.

Pride helps; and pride is not a bad thing when it only urges us to hide our hurts — not to hurt others.

The strongest principle of growth lies in human choice.

It seems to me we can never give up longing and wishing while we are thoroughly alive. There are certain things we feel to be beautiful and good, and we must hunger after them.

The golden moments in the stream of life rush past us, and we see nothing but sand; the angels come to visit us, and we only know them when they are gone.

Adventure is not outside man; it is within.

It will never rain roses: when we want to have more roses, we must plant more roses.

It is good to be unselfish and generous; but don’t carry that too far. It will not do to give yourself to be melted down for the benefit of the tallow-trade; you must know where to find yourself.

Only in the agony of parting do we look into the depths of love.

Be courteous, be obliging, but don’t give yourself over to be melted down for the benefit of the tallow trade.

The reward of one duty is the power to fulfill another.

A friend is one to whom one may pour out the contents of one’s heart, chaff and grain together, knowing that gentle hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.

Don’t judge a book by its cover.

Gossip is a sort of smoke that comes from the dirty tobacco-pipes of those who diffuse it: it proves nothing but the bad taste of the smoker.

Our deeds determine us, as much as we determine our deeds.

It is surely better to pardon too much, than to condemn too much.


Reconnect with your dreams and jumpstart your personal transformation with Goalcast’s new inspirational ebook, Explore Your Potential: Start the Journey to Your Dream Life.

Transformation doesn’t just happen. It takes a plan and a support system. This how-to guide is full of the top wisdom, tips, exercises, and success stories to inspire an old dream or create a new one.

Check out a teaser of what’s inside.