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History of the Project

The George Eliot Review Online was born from an interest in sharing scholarship of the author George Eliot with as many people as possible. Dr. Beverley Rilett, a Victorianist researcher and faculty fellow with the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln directs this digital project in collaboration with the originating print journal's editors, Drs. John Rignall, Michael Davis, and A. G. van den Broek, and in partnership with John Burton, Chair and representative of the George Eliot Fellowship, publishers of the journal. 

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 presented this problem and volunteered a solution to the journal's publishers and editors. With their enthusiastic support, she took on the project of digitizing, hosting, and maintaining the journal online in order 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. Most are undergraduate students who have been awarded grant funding for this work through the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Undergraduate Creativity and Research Experience (UCARE) program, funded by Pepsi Cola. Learn about these brilliant students below.

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, a second website we have been developing since 2015 provides access to 19th- and early 20th-century documents related to the author. The George Eliot Archive, an electronic repository for primary research documents by and about George Eliot, was launched on the first day of 2019, in time for the bicentenary celebration of Eliot's birth (1819).

The Archive, a linked but separate digital project, provides free online access to all of Eliot's writings: the standard "Cabinet Edition" of the novels and short stories, her complete poetry, her translations, and her non-fiction essays (more complete than any printed compilation). Visitors also will find hundreds of public domain documents pertaining to George Eliot, including reviews of her works by her contemporaries, early biographical studies by those who knew her, and all known portraits of the author. New features of the Archive include interactive visual representations of Eliot's chronology, her social network, and her travels abroad. Future goals including making all of Eliot's correspondence, notebooks, and journals available for scholars. 

Thank you for visiting! 


Project Staff

Dr. Beverley Rilett, digital editor and project director, is a Research Assistant Professor in English and a Faculty Fellow in the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She specializes in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century British literature and culture, biography, and digital humanities. She has edited British Poetry of the Long Nineteenth Century: A Selection for College Students (2017; reissued 2019). Rilett has published several articles on aspects of the author's life and works and is currently completing a revisionist biography of George Eliot. She received concurrent bachelors' degrees in Arts (English) and Education from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada and master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Nebraska. She is honored to be a vice president of the George Eliot Fellowship.


Meet our team members, the builders of the George Eliot Archive and the George Eliot Review Online websites:

Dr. Antje Anderson (2019 - present) is a lecturer in art history at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She has worked on George Eliot for many years in her former life as an English professor. Her MA thesis (2020) explored the "art tourism" of George Eliot and Victorian women art historians Anna Jameson and Elizabeth Eastlake. She is creating interactive maps of Eliot's continental travels for the George Eliot Archive.  

Michaela Brown (2020 - present) is a junior English major and Spanish minor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is currently developing content and metadata for our sister site, George Eliot Scholars, which will be launched by the end of the year, and adding to our Commentary by Contemporaries section.

Grace Erixon (2019 – present) is a senior Computer Science major with the Jeffrey Raikes School at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She has been adapting an open-source plug-in for our first interactive map, "George Eliot’s Travels in Italy."

John Harkendorff (2019 - present) is a senior Computer Engineering student with Math and Business minors working as a web developer on the George Eliot Archive. His focus is on building the GE Scholars site, a digital commons where researchers can share their scholarship with one another in an open-access forum. 

Rose Kottwitz (2020 - present) is a junior English major and Business minor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is preparing the Cross Letters to be more accessible to our users and comparing them to the George Eliot Letters as edited by Gordon Haight. She is also locating and processing articles for our Commentary by Contemporaries section.

Kaylen Michaelis (2020 - present) is a sophomore English major and Spanish minor at the University of Nebraska Lincoln. She is currently preparing newspaper articles for our Commentary by Contemporaries section.

Anne Nagel (2019 - present) is a Ph.D. candidate studying 19th-century British literature and critical theory at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her dissertation, "Beyond the Looking-Glass," explores the subversive potential of affect in 19th-century depictions of sleep and dreams. For the Archive, Anne is researching the creation and publication history of the George Eliot portrait collection and facilitating the sharing of our gallery of images with the Central Online Victorian Educator (COVE) site. 

Lindsay Roberts (2020 - present) is a freshman Secondary English Education major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is currently a member of the Alpha Lambda Delta. Her work on the Archive involves summarizing and evaluating Eliot’s critical reception and editing a collection of correspondence about George Eliot. 

Maxwell Robeson (2020 - present) is a sophomore English major and History minor. His work on the Archive involves evaluating Eliot’s biographical commentary and contributing to the Relationship Web.

Kayleigh Ryan (2020 - present) is a senior English major and Women's and Gender Studies minor at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. She is currently designing promotional materials and print publications for the George Eliot Archive.

Tanima Shrivastava (2020 - present) is a junior English major with a concentration in digital humanities. As our web developer, Tanima combines her passions for technology and literary studies. She will be continuing the development of the George Eliot Scholars site in addition to the George Eliot Archive.

Alexis Stoffers (2020 - present) is a sophomore English and Spanish major and political science and global studies minor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is currently designing brochures and print publications for the George Eliot Archive. 

Brandon Unverferth (220 - present) is an English and Religious Studies major with a Political Science minor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is currently involved in work summarizing and evaluating Eliot’s critical reception as well as editing a collection of correspondence about George Eliot.

Past Research Assistants

Sydney Baty, 2018-19: drafted short biographies summarizing Eliot's relationships; mined periodicals databases to find previously unknown contemporary articles on GE; conference presentation

Susannah Boyer, 2018-19: located public domain sources of GE-related images and verified information for the relationship web summaries

Mackenzie Burch, 2019-20: collected data and researched terms and accessibility for our new sister site, George Eliot Scholars; also presented poster sessions and an academic conference paper

Shane Clegg, 2019: website upgrading and coding for the interactive chronology section of the George Eliot Archive, poster session presentation

Sara Duke, 2017-18: image editing, database development, grant opportunities research; conference and poster presentations

Megan Ekstrom, 2017-2019: database development and document preparation; presented posters and conference papers.

Rachel Gordon, 2017-19: curated the George Eliot portrait gallery; database development; conference and poster presentations

Riley Jhi, 2017-2020: web development and design of the George Eliot Archive, especially data visualization modeling of the relationship web, and, with Shane Clegg, the interactive chronology; conference and poster presentations.

Bailea Kerr, 2016-18: database development; image processing; recording the history of the project; conference and poster presentations

Rosamond Thalken, 2016-17: scanning, image processing, database development; conference and poster presentations

Derek Wagner, 2017-18: located and digitized many of the reviews of George Eliot's works by her contemporaries

Advisory and Contributing Editors

The George Eliot Archive and its sister sites, the George Eliot Review Online and the George Eliot Scholars digital commons, have, since their inception, relied on the expert advice and contributions of many others. We thank and recognize the following individuals:

John Burton

Charlotte Fiehn

Constance Fulmer

Margaret Harris

Brenda MacKay

Linda Mayne

Kathleen McCormack

Bob Muscutt

Kenneth Price

John Rignall