Prodigiously learned, alive to the massive social changes of her time, defiant of many Victorian orthodoxies, George Eliot has always challenged her readers. 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 inform both her fictional and her non-fictional writings. The range and scale of her achievement are brought into focus by cogent essays on the many contexts - historical, intellectual, political, social, cultural - to 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 novels and her journalism. The volume enables fuller understanding and appreciation, from a twenty-first-century standpoint, of the life and work of one of the nineteenth century's major writers.