Mary Anne Evans, the woman behind the psuedonym George Eliot, was born in England in 1819 and after she grew up became one of the great novelists of her time. She ran the Westminster Review, one of the first female editors (though of course a man was still named as the editor) of the time and contributed a great deal of work to the journal. Her first successful novel, a great success, was called "Adam Bede" and after she published it under the name "George Eliot," its great success eventually forced her to come forward as the author.
She went on to publish many more very successful novels, among them Middlemarch and Mill on the Floss. Her great success at the time as a woman helped to make it more accepted that women could be successful as well as outspoken about political issues, as many of her books contained powerful commentaries on some of the customs of the time.