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Scarborough Society to present October 12 unveiling of George Eliot collection and discussion of ‘Middlemarch’

ISSUED: 6 October 2021

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Shepherd University’s Scarborough Society will kick off its annual Art and Lecture Series on Tuesday, October 12, with a discussion of George Eliot’s masterpiece, “Middlemarch.” Hosted by the Shepherd University Foundation in conjunction with Shepherd’s 150th anniversary celebration, the event will also feature the unveiling of a collection of Eliot books donated to the Scarborough Library.

The program will take place at 5 p.m. in the Scarborough Library Reading Room followed by a reception on the library porch. All Art and Lecture Series programming is free and open to the public.

In 1871, Marian Evans, better known by her pen name, George Eliot, published the first volume of “Middlemarch,” an examination of life in a small town on the precipice of change. Eliot depicts a wide cast of characters wrestling with the enduring tensions between individual and community in a place where everyone is connected and actions ripple outward. That same year, across the Atlantic in another small town, Shepherd College opened its doors, setting in motion 150 years of connection and change.

Dr. Heidi Hanrahan, professor of English and 2018 West Virginia Professor of the Year, will present a reading from “Middlemarch,” an introduction to the writer, and lead a discussion of the surprising thematic connections to Shepherdstown and the university. Following the presentation, library staff will unveil a collection of Eliot books donated to Scarborough Library by Connie Potter, whose late husband was an Eliot scholar.

Hanrahan earned her doctorate in American literature before 1900 at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and currently teaches courses in American literature, British literature, gender and women’s studies, and composition. She has been published in several journals and collections, including The New England Quarterly, Studies in American Humor, Poe Studies, Appalachian Journal, Narratives of Community, Feminist Teacher, and Transformations. Hanrahan is the recipient of Shepherd’s Outstanding Advisor Award, Outstanding Service Award, and the Storer College Faculty Award.

The Scarborough Society is a friends of the library organization sponsored by the Shepherd University Foundation. Annual membership dues help support library acquisitions, technology, and programs. Membership is open to all interested supporters of the Scarborough Library. For further information about the lecture series or the Scarborough Society, contact the Shepherd University Foundation at 304-876-5397 or visit

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