English, Department of



John Burton

Date of this Version


Document Type



The George Eliot Review 44 (2013)


Published by The George Eliot Review Online https://GeorgeEliotReview.org


The year began in March with an introduction to Romo/a for the Nuneaton George Eliot Study Group which was attended by nearly forty local members. This was followed up by more in depth sessions on Romola at Bedworth Almshouses after Easter. These sessions were aimed at those going to Florence in November, to walk in Romola's footsteps. Numbers were constant throughout the sessions and we ended the ten sessions by watching the 1924 silent film version of the book. The study notes for these sessions will be made available to members worldwide on the website

Following the AGM that same weekend, Vivienne Wood and Simon Winterman gave a presentation on their Geneva trip. The invitation to address the students of Geneva University had been arranged by Dr Valerie Fehlbaum, one of our speakers at the George Eliot study day in May. Following Vivienne and Simon's successful stage adaptations of Adam Bede, The Mill on the Floss, and Silas Marner, Dr Fehlbaum had invited them to talk to her students about adapting George Eliot for the stage.

The expanded weekend in May, concentrating on George Eliot's European interest was very successful. We heard papers from Dr John Rignall on 'George Eliot and Europe', Professor Ken Newton on 'George Eliot and the Ethical', and Dr Valerie Fehlbaum on 'George Eliot and Geneva', finishing with a performance of the playwright Vanessa Oakes's 'The Oracle of the Tap Rooms', about Joseph Liggins, the man who had claimed to be George Eliot. The monologue was performed by Jon Morris and directed by Mark Evans. Vanessa is a much valued member of the George Eliot Fellowship and has since been awarded an Arts Council grant to write another play about George Eliot.

The following day was the George Eliot Country Tour. A 1920s style charabanc omnibus driving through Nuneaton certainly turned heads as did some of the participants who had sportingly dressed in 1920s costume for the occasion. The weather was good, the buffet lunch delightful, and Arbury, Astley and Griff their usual captivating selves.

The Nuneaton wreath laying was another successful event; fourteen wreaths were laid and nearly 50 people attended. Tea and cake followed at Nuneaton Museum. Jack West, a former student of King Edward VI College, now a student at Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, was our guest speaker. Jack, having starred in Adam Bede, The Mill on the Floss, and Silas Marner, spoke of the support and inspiration he had received from the Fellowship through the dramatic productions.