History of the Project
The George Eliot Review Online was inspired by a passion for continuing the legacy of the Victorian woman writer who published as George Eliot. Dr. Beverley Park Rilett began the project when she was an instructor and researcher in the English department and a faculty fellow with the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She now directs this open-access digital project along with the George Eliot Archive and the George Eliot Scholars sites--additional repositories will all of the authors' writings and thousands of related documents.
The George Eliot Review Online is published in partnership with John Burton, Chair of the George Eliot Fellowship, the print journal's publisher, and the journal's editors, Drs. John Rignall, Michael Davis, and A. G. van den Broek.
This important journal, published continuously since 1970, became freely available with this digital project; previously it had been available only to libraries and individual subscribers. By 2015, US libraries had switched from print to digital subscriptions for periodicals. Print-only journals such as the George Eliot Review were being purged from collections at an alarming rate and several issues had already become impossible to obtain, even through the US inter-library loan program.
During a 2015 visit to England, Dr. Rilett explained the problem of the journal's scarcity in the US and proposed a solution to facilitate free global access. With their enthusiastic support, she volunteered to digitize, host, and maintain the online journal to ensure it would be available for all future researchers without borders or barriers. Our transcontinental mutual commitment to open access assures that this research remains available to all interested readers via the internet, not only those with institutional database subscriptions.
Dr. Rilett's vision could not have been implemented without her rotating editorial staff of research assistants who have invested hundreds of hours in this project, which was finally launched in December, 2017. The students' work was largely supported by grant funding awarded to then through UNL's Undergraduate Creativity and Research Experience (UCARE) program, funded by Pepsi Cola. At Auburn University since 2021, Dr. Rilett and her research assistants are currently supported by the AU Libraries, the English department, and the computer science and software engineering department.
The George Eliot Review Online also owes a debt of gratitude to Dr. Henry Alley, who donated his nearly complete collection of printed journals just as we were beginning to acquire them for scanning. Collecting the entire set of the Review was especially challenging because US libraries were unable to locate some issues anywhere in the country. At one point, a trans-Atlantic shipment from the Fellowship's own set represented the only known copies of three issues. Fortunately, they arrived safely, so that our team at UNL could digitize every George Eliot Review journal back to its 1970 inaugural issue.
On this site, you will find a digital republication of all the back issues of the George Eliot Review and the George Eliot Fellowship Review just as they appeared in print for more than fifty years. To make this information as useful as possible to visitors, our project team added metadata and tags to the issues as a whole and to each of the nearly nine hundred individual articles, reviews, and other documents. For example, our digitized version allows readers to browse journals by year, issue number, title, and author and to search the contents of the entire corpus for words or phrases of interest.
While the GE Review Online provides access to the most recent peer-reviewed work of George Eliot scholars as published in the George Eliot Review journal, visitor should also turn to the George Eliot Archive, a repository launched in December, 2018 just in time for the bicentenary celebrating Eliot's birth (1819). It holds several thousand documents written by and about George Eliot before 1926 (the public domain works) along with new born-digital projects that provide new ways of studying the author with datasets and software-facilitated data visualization.
Our newest sister site is the George Eliot Scholars digital commons (2021), where the editors are curating new articles published as open-access or Creative Commons-licensed documents. In addition, the Scholars commons is a meeting place for researchers may contribute their own work on the author in various forms and formats. We welcome your contributions, and, of course, your feedback, on our continuously developing websites.
Thank you for visiting!
Dr. Beverley Park Rilett, Editor and inaugural director, is an Associate Research Professor at Auburn University in Alabama, the new home of the George Eliot Archive and sister projects.
Until August, 2021, she was Assistant Research Professor in English and a Faculty Fellow in the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where these projects were born and raised. “Dr Bev” specializes in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century British literature and culture, biography, and digital humanities. Her edition of British Poetry of the Long Nineteenth Century: A Selection for College Students was re-issued in 2019 with a Creative Commons 4.0 license, which means the digital edition is now free. She has published several articles on aspects of George Eliot's life and works, and is completing a revisionist biography. She is honored to be a vice president of the George Eliot Fellowship and the digital editor of the Fellowship’s George Eliot Review journal.
Meet our team members, the builders of the George Eliot Archive and the George Eliot Review Online websites:
Hailey Fischer (2020 - present ) is completing her Master of Arts in English at UNL, advised by Dr. Rilett. Her thesis explores George Eliot's relationships with her siblings, especially her sister and half-sister. Hailey is currently developing the born-digital geo-spacial exhibit, "George Eliot in England," for the "About GE" section of the Archive.
Jorryn "Jojo" Hensley (2021 - present) is a Junior English Major in the Honors Program at AU. Jojo will be completing and launching the project's first TweetDeck combining quotations, illustrations, and news--an extensive subproject started by previous team members.
Mckenzi Marlow (2021 - present) is a first-year Master's student in English at Auburn who is finding and adding articles to the Commentary by Contemporaries section of the Archive; is adding the newest edition of the George Eliot Review to the GE Review Online site, and is uploading newly discovered open-access materials to the George Eliot Scholars website.
Maxwell Robeson (2020 - present), a senior English major at UNL, has been organizing, proofreading, and adding public-domain portraits to the biographical commentary on individuals included in Eliot's social network for the Relationship Web subproject. He also helped to edit the subproject we're currently calling "George Eliot's Library."
Hannah Stefancik (2021 - present) is completing her Master’s in Technical and Professional Communication (MTPC) at Auburn University. She has begun to edit the Middlemarch Super Edition, which will layer multiple editors' notes onto the foundational Cabinet Edition of the novel. She is also processing newly discovered documents and adding them to the website.
Hollie Tucker (2021 - present) is completing her Master of Arts in English at Auburn University. As assistant editor, Hollie is reorganizing the Trello team task board, streamlining the website's tagging system, and reworking metadata for the Beinecke Letters project.
Jacob Walker (2021 - present) is a Junior Finance major and History minor in the Honors Program at AU. He is creating a multi-media presentation on the George Eliot Archive and sister projects for the Liquid Galaxy immersive display in RBD Library.
Former Research Assistants
Dr. Antje Anderson, 2019-21: created interactive maps of George Eliot's trips to Italy as part of MA thesis in Art History.
Sydney Baty, 2018-19: drafted short biographies summarizing Eliot's relationships; mined periodicals databases to find previously unknown contemporary articles on GE; presented research at academic conference
Susannah Boyer, 2018-19: located public domain sources of Eliot-related images and verified information for the relationship web summaries
Michaela Brown, 2020, located and added documents to the Archive's Commentary by Contemporaries section; developed content and metadata for its sister site, George Eliot Scholars
Mackenzie Burch, 2019-20: collected data and researched terms and accessibility for our new sister site, George Eliot Scholars; presented research at an academic conference, in a poster session, and an Honors Program thesis
Bryan Christman, 2020-21, assisted with the revisions of the Relationship Web summaries and researched books Eliot read for a new subproject, "George Eliot's Library"
Shane Clegg, Summer 2019, improved website functionality; created (with Riley Jhi) the interactive Chronology section of the George Eliot Archive; poster session presentation
Sara Duke, 2017-18, researched grant opportunities, developed the early database of contemporary reviews, presented posters and conference papers
Megan Ekstrom, 2017-2019, database development and document preparation; researched Eliot's female friendships; presented posters and conference papers.
Grace Erixon, 2019-2020, helped build interactive maps of George Eliot's trips; contributed to the relationship web; general website maintenance.
Rachel Gordon, 2017-19, curated the 2018 George Eliot portrait gallery; developed the Writings database, presented at conferences and poster sessions
Sarah Guyer, 2020-21, transitioned the George Eliot Review files to a new metadata and file storage system, organized and transcribed unpublished manuscript correspondence, and processed George Eliot Scholars submissions
John Harkendorff, 2019-20, web developer with a focus on the GE Scholars site; improved the website's functionality, developed the site's contribution interface, and facilitated email outreach to potential contributors.
Riley Jhi, 2017-2020, designed and developed the first iteration of the George Eliot Archive, created data visualization models for the relationship web, and, with Shane Clegg, the interactive chronology; conference and poster presentations.
Bailea Kerr, 2016-18, developed earliest project databases, processed images, researched comparable digital projects and the GEF history, presented at conference and poster sessions
Rose Kottwitz, Summer 2020, prepared metadata for the 896 "Cross Letters" and uploaded them all to the Archive; compared a sample set of the Cross letters with Gordon Haight's George Eliot Letters
Kaylen Michaelis, 2020-21, developed the Commentary by Contemporaries section and led the team as assistant editor
Thara Michaelis, 2020-21, developed the Commentary by Contemporaries section; prepared the Journals and Notebooks section for publication, and added George Eliot-related information and links to Wikipedia
Anne Nagel, 2019-20, transposed the "George Eliot Portrait Gallery" section to the Central Online Victorian Educator (COVE) site; researched and co-authored (with BPR) the editorial introduction, "The George Eliot Portrait Gallery: Perspectives on the Writer."
Lindsay Roberts, 2020-21, proofread and added to the Relationship Web summaries; monitored contributions and prepared them for publication on the George Eliot Scholars site.
Kayleigh Ryan, 2020-21, was primarily responsible for developing the gallery of images illustrating George Eliot's Works.
Devyn Sanderson, 2021: collected and processed illustrations of George Eliot's Works; scanned important documents for further research
Tanima Shrivastava, 2020-21: responsible for maintaining and improving the functionality of the three websites
Alexis Stoffers, 2020-21: redesigned our logo to add Eliot's signature; helped develop the "George Eliot in England" image gallery, designed a print edition of George Eliot in England.
Rosamond Thalken, 2016-17: scanning, image processing, database development; conference and poster presentations
Brandon Unverferth, 2020-21: prepared a new digital edition of the George Eliot Character and Scenes dictionary for the website.
Derek Wagner, 2017-18: located and digitized many of the reviews of George Eliot's works by her contemporaries