HomeHistory of the Project

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:

Hailey Fischer (2020 - present) is completing her first year as a Master's English student in Literary and Cultural Studies and Women's Literature. Her thesis will explore George Eliot's relationships with her siblings, especially her sister and half-sister. She is currently developing the "George Eliot in England" section of the Archive.

Sarah Guyer (2020 - present) is a sophomore English major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She transitioned the George Eliot Review files to a new metadata and file storage system, organized and transcribed unpublished manuscript correspondence about Eliot, and has begun to prepare Introductions and Notes for a new super edition of Eliot's major works.

Kaylen Michaelis (2020 - present) is a sophomore English major and Spanish minor at the University of Nebraska Lincoln. She is currently the project's assistant editor, overseeing the development of the Commentary by Contemporaries section and teaching Omeka to the new research assistants.

Thara Michaelis (2020 - present) is a sophomore English major and Spanish minor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Presently, she is adding metadata and articles to the Archive’s Commentary by Contemporaries section and preparing the Journals and Notebooks section for publication. She also added George Eliot-related information and links to Wikipedia.

Maxwell Robeson (2020 - present) has been organizing, proofreading, and adding to the biographical commentary on individuals included in Eliot's social network; Max also is collecting important metadata for this section, identifying the public domain sources of each portrait to be displayed on the Relationship Web.

Tanima Shrivastava (2020 - present) is a junior English major with minors in Digital Humanities and Computer Science. As our web developer, Tanima is responsible for maintaining the functioning and continuing the development of the three websites, the George Eliot Review Online, George Eliot Scholars, and the George Eliot Archive.

Past Research Assistants

Dr. Antje Anderson, 2019-21: created interactive maps of George Eliot's trips to Italy.

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

Michaela Brown, 2020: located and added documents to our Commentary by Contemporaries section; developed content and metadata for our sister site, George Eliot Scholars.

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.

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: 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.

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 George Eliot portrait gallery; database development; conference and poster presentations

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: 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

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.

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: 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

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

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:

Emily Bell

Anne-Marie Beller

John Burton

Eleanor Dumbill

Charlotte Fiehn

Constance Fulmer

Beryl Gray

Margaret Harris

Brenda MacKay

Linda Mayne

Kathleen McCormack

Bob Muscutt

Kenneth Price

John Rignall

Katherine Walter

Aurora Wheeler

Adrian Wisnicki