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George Eliot, the pen name used by Mary Anne Evans, wrote popular works that epitomized the settings and ideology of contemporary Victorian England. She was brought up in a large farmhouse near Coventry, where she was surrounded by the wide fields, large trees, canals and small roads that would color the landscape of her later fiction. Evans was raised in the Church of England, where she developed strong moral convictions that carried over into her fiction; she often presented stories of social outsiders and small-town persecution. Her first published work of fiction, "Scenes of Clerical Life", includes "The Sad Fortunes of the Reverend Amos Barton," which was first published in Blackwood's Magazine to great review. Each of the three stories in this book take place in and around the fictional town of Milby, and examine the effects of religious reform, the clergy, and social issues like poverty, alcoholism and domestic violence.

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