George Eliot’s “Silas Marner”
George Eliot’s famous short novel Silas Marner: The Weaver of Raveloe was published two hundred years ago this month. Eliot wrote Silas Marner in five months, between November 1860 and March 1861. The novel is both shorter and happier in tone than her earlier novels, Adam Bede and The Mill on the Floss, which were both bestsellers. Adam Bede sold 10,000 copies in its first year (1859); The Mill on the Floss sold nearly 5,000 copies in a week. Silas Marner was also received well by the reading public, selling 8,000 copies by the end of 1861.
Special Collections owns many examples of George Eliot’s works, including first editions of the afore-mentioned novels and the eight bimonthly parts in which the first edition of her masterpiece, Middlemarch, was first published. To access these and other works in our collections, consult the library catalog and visit Special Collections’ reference desk.