The Mill on the Floss is a novel by George Eliot, first published in 1860.
The novel details the lives of Tom and Maggie Tulliver, a brother and sister growing up on the river Floss near the village of St. Oggs, evidently in the 1820’s, after the Napoleonic Wars but prior to the first Reform Bill (1832).
The novel spans a period of 10-15 years, from Tom and Maggie’s childhood up until their deaths. The book is fictional autobiography in part, reflecting the disgrace that George Eliot herself had while in a lengthy relationship with a married man, George Henry Lewes.
Maggie Tulliver holds the central role in the book, as both her relationship with her older brother Tom, and her romantic relationships with Philip Wakem, a hunchbacked, but sensitive and intellectual, friend, and with Stephen Guest, a vivacious young socialite in St. Oggs and fiancé of Maggie’s cousin Lucy Deane, constitute the most significant narrative threads.
Mary Anne Evans (1819-1880), better known by her pen name George Eliot, was an English novelist, journalist and translator, and one of the leading writers of the Victorian era. She is the author of seven novels, including Adam Bede (1859), The Mill on the Floss (1860), Silas Marner (1861), Middlemarch (1871-72), and Daniel Deronda (1876), most of them set in provincial England and known for their realism and psychological insight.
In December 2015, BBC Culture polled book critics outside the UK, to give an outsider’s perspective on the best in British literature. Out of 100 listed novels, Middlemarch listed as #1 and Daniel Deronda listed as #70.