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The first period of George Eliot's creative activity draws to a close with Silas Marner. She conceived it in November 1860, and by March 1861, George Eliot wrote to Blackwood, the publishers, that "it was a story of old fashioned village life which has unfolded itself from the merest millet-seed of thought." According to the author, the story was suggested by a childish memory of a linen- weaver, with his bag on his back. Some of her critics claim that she drew the plot from a Polish novel called Jermola the Polter, which is the story of a lonely old man who adopts a deserted infant, the care of whom brings him into contact with his own kind. In comparing the two novels, one finds more dissimilarities than similarities; thus it can be safely assumed that the story of Silas Marner was purely George Eliot's invention. The book is almost a poetic conception with the quality of pure fable in it; in fact, it has been called a "lyrical ballad in prose." George Eliot abandoned the idea of working out the story in blank verse because she felt that this would exclude the effective use of humor; instead, she decided to sustain a realistic treatment. This decision was definitely to her advantage because George Eliot was a more gifted prose-writer than a poet. In fact, her poetic works were dull and common place.