Troubador Fair Seed-Time

Released: 28/10/2019

ISBN: 9781838591465

Format: Paperback

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Fair Seed-Time

Robert Evans, Francis Newdigate and the Making of George Eliot


Fair Seed-Time is a major re-interpretation of the historical background to the writings of George Eliot. It rejects several oft-repeated myths about the early 19th Century Midland world in which George Eliot grew up, emphasises the importance of a previously neglected character in that world, Francis Newdigate, and provides a detailed insight into the life of Eliot’s father, Robert Evans. It shows how he rose socially throughout his life and how he played a significant role in the professional development of early 19th Century Land Agents. It provides detailed and carefully-argued evidence to illustrate how his life and work profoundly influenced George Eliot’s novels, from which there are many quotations.  

The author has delved into previously unread historical diaries and many other original and previously little used sources to bring alive the rapidly changing economic and social world of the early nineteenth century in general and north Warwickshire in particular. The result will be of interest both to general and local historians of this period, those concerned with the evolution of land agency as a profession, and to all students of literature, and especially George Eliot scholars, because of the fresh insights into her work.

The launch of Fair Seed-Time will take place on Friday November 1st at Chilvers Coton Heritage Centre, Avenue Road, Nuneaton, CV11 4LU, starting at 5.30pm. If you would like to be there just e-mail David Paterson at [email protected]
David will be signing copies of his book and talking for a few minutes about how he came to write it.

David will also be signing copies at Kenilworth Bookshop on Saturday November 23rd between 10.30am and 1.30 pm, the day after the 200th Anniversary of George Eliot's birth at South Farm, Arbury.

‘The importance of Robert Evans, George Eliot’s father, for an understanding of her life and work has long been generally accepted, but David Paterson breathes new life into this general truth by exploring in detail Robert’s working relationship with his employers, the Newdigates, and showing how illuminating traces of that relationship can be found throughout her fiction’.

by Dr. John Rignall, Emeritus Reader in English, University of Warwick

A really invaluable book for all Eliot scholars interested in the nitty gritty of her background – and for the growth of work in rural history, tracking the figure and role of the land agent in this period … making a really convincing case for the parallels and shared ground between Robert Evans and George Eliot

by Professor Ruth Livesey, University of London

David Paterson

David Paterson was formerly Head of History and Politics at King Edward VI College Nuneaton and produced textbooks on Civil Rights in the USA and 19th Century British History. He has written regularly in recent years for George Eliot Review on historical aspects of George Eliot's novels. He has also published extensively on the history of education in Warwickshire including Leeke's Legacy, a History of King Edward VI School Nuneaton, two other books on local schools, and articles in Warwickshire History on 19th Century education. He has been a member of the Historical Association since 1970 and a member of Nuneaton Branch for most of that time, being Branch Chairman since 1990. He has also written several articles for the Association's Magazine, The Historian. In 2019 he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Association. He is also on the Executive Committee of Warwickshire Local History Society and lectures to Historical Association Branches, Civic Societies, the George Eliot Fellowship, and U3A Groups.

David Paterson

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