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George Eliot Interactive Data

George Eliot, born Mary Ann Evans (1819-1880), remains one of the best-known and highest acclaimed authors of English literature. The George Eliot Archive, launched in 2019, is the only scholarly website devoted exclusively to the study of Eliot’s life and works.  

In this section, “George Eliot Interactive Data,” we provide several unique, interactive, "born-digital" models that enable researchers to drill down into previously unexplored facets of the author's life, including:

  • (1) a detailed chronology of Eliot’s life as visualized in two models, with 60,000 words of summaries and quotations gleaned from her journals and letters; chronological details provide accurate biographical information and context for Eliot’s writings.
  • (2) a set of interactive historical maps. Our first maps show Eliot's five trips to Italy, including her itinerary, route, and sites she visited along the way. Our most recent addition is George Eliot's England, showing places from her home country that were important in her life and works. More maps of Eliot's travels are also planned for this section, including her trips to Spain and Germany.
  • (3) a social network map or relationship web summarizes and visually represents Eliot's most relevant connections with 125  family members, friends, and business colleagues. More individuals will be added in future iterations.
  • (4) George Eliot Text Explorer. More than a concordance, scholars can use this tool created by our team of student developers to search for any words or phrases in any of George Eliot’s fiction and see each use in context. Find related or relevant quotations instantly. 
  • (5) Chapter Summaries by AI. In Fall 2023, we fed ONLY George Eliot’s texts into OpenAI’s Premium text analysis tool and collected the results on summaries, character names, and settings. We even asked for “key quotations,” with fascinating results—most predictable but some surprising. Check it out!

The George Eliot Archive team and its consultant editors aim to eliminate speculation and bias by relying on primary documents, such as the author's letters and journals, whenever possible.

Our research materials for George Eliot scholarship builds on the foundational work of scholars who came before us, especially the transcribing and editorial work completed over many years by Eliot scholars such as Gordon Haight, William Baker, John Rignall, Rosemary Ashton, Margaret Harris and Judith Johnson, and other experts. We also depend on the advice and oversight of our project by experts in the field (see our Project History). Any errors are the responsibility of project director, Beverley Park Rilett. If you notice anything that looks incorrect, please write to Bev at brilett2@auburn.edu

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LINKS:
George Eliot Text Explorer
Chapter Summaries by AI
Chronology
Social Network
Interactive Maps