George Eliot has always challenged her readers. Prodigiously learned, alive to the massive social changes of her time, defiant of many Victorian orthodoxies, she is at once chronicler and analyst, novelist of nostalgia and monumental thinker. In her great novel Middlemarch she writes of 'that tempting range of relevancies called the universe'. This volume identifies a range of 'relevancies' that form the various contexts of her time, and of our own pertinent to understanding and in the fullest sense appreciating George Eliot. The dimensions of her achievement are illuminated by cogent essays on particular facets of the many contexts historical, intellectual, political, social, cultural that inform her work. In addition there are discussions of her critical history and legacy, as well as of the material conditions of production and distribution of her work. Here is George Eliot in the twenty-first century."