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I am looking for this definition because of the book Quarry for Middlemarch, which my lit professor said was George Eliot's notebook for all her research for her novel, but all of the definitions I have found so far don't really talk about quarry meaning anything like notebook.

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It's just the name of the notebook she kept. A Google search suggests that there is no connection between the word "quarry" and the word "notebook". Your research suggests as much. I suggest that you accept that inference as valid. – user21497 Nov 20 '12 at 1:40
I'm guessing that Quarry might hail from Enquiries or something similar. The other meaning of Quarry is a "sustained effort". Both of yesteryear usage. – Chris Nov 20 '12 at 1:51
@Chris Enquiries is not of yesteryear usage. Are you not acquainted with that renowned periodical (tabloid?) The National Enquirer? "Enquiring minds want to know!" is their motto. I up voted both answers though, as I don't believe that the quarry in question here pertains to "enquiries", nor "sustained effort". – Ellie Kesselman Nov 24 '12 at 4:47
Thesaurus entry for quarry: aim, chase, game, objective, prey, prize, quest, ravin, victim. I suggest chase for Middlemarch being appropriate. – Chris Nov 25 '12 at 23:30

Quarry doesn't mean notebook - it means the place you go to dig out useful rocks/minerals.

So "Quarry for Middlemarch" is where all the building material to write the novel came from

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From Merriam-Webster:

quarry (n):
1: an open excavation usually for obtaining building stone, slate, or limestone
2: a rich source

I suspect Ms Evans was using the second meaning.

Although it is odd, in my opinion, to refer to any collection you put together yourself as a "quarry"; quarries are naturally occurring sources. Maybe she was make a weak pun with "quarto", which refers to paper of a particular size (usually about 286 by 222 mm, close to 8.5"x11").

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She wrote as George Eliot, so that's a good enough name for us now. Anyway, I doubt she called "it" that ("it" was probably a ragbag of jottings on various sheets of paper and notepads anyway). I think that was just the name assigned by one Anna Theresa Kitchel, who's published various other stuff on Eliot. – FumbleFingers Nov 20 '12 at 2:12

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