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Adam Bede by George Eliot
  

Synopsis

Adam Bede by George Eliot

It may seem like an old tale: the beautiful village girl, her faithful admirer, a country squire's seduction. But seen through the eyes of any of its players, the old tale becomes one of fresh heartbreak, innocent hopes, best intentions gone awry, and better selves lost and restored. George Eliot's first novel shows all her humane intelligence and intimate knowledge of the richness and complexity of ordinary life.

Reviews

A first-rate novel The Times From Adam Bede to Daniel Deronda, she questioned her times. She plumbed ideas, politics, religion, race, and above all the vagaries of the heart Guardian A disconcerting mixture of High Victorian and snappily contemporary. The sentences tend to be massive, slow-moving but deadly accurate: the characters
motivations are dissected, the moral puzzles presented with great clarity Independent The whole country life that the story is set in, is so real, and so droll and genuine, and yet so selected and polished by art, that I cannot praise it enough to you

-- Charles Dickens


About the Author

George Eliot was born Mary Anne (later Marian) Evans on 22 November 1819 at Arbury Farm in Warwickshire, where her father was estate manager. When she was five months old, the family moved to a farmhouse at Griff, her beloved home until she was twenty-one. Because of her father’s position, the young Marian had access to the library at Arbury Hall and made full use of it. She boarded at school in Coventry, where she studied a considerable range of literature and excelled at English composition and piano playing.

After her mother’s death in 1836 she became her father’s housekeeper. In 1841 the family moved to Coventry, where Marian was introduced to the free-thinking Charles Bray and his wife Cara. Their social circle greatly enriched her life, influencing her reading, her thinking and her early career. Her father died in 1849 when she was 30 – well past the normal marriageable age – but he left her £100 a year which gave her a certain amount of independence. She moved to London and became a distinguished editor of the Westminster Review, where she met the journalist George Henry Lewes. Lewes was still married to his wife, who had left him and their children, so he and Marian were unable to marry. Despite this, they lived together until his death in 1878. Marian’s rejection by her friends, family and society in general over her common law marriage is reflected in The Mill on the Floss.

Lewes was extremely supportive of Marian’s artistic endeavors and it was he who first encouraged her to write fiction. The success of Adam Bede, published in 1859, confirmed her literary powers. She adopted the masculine name George Eliot partly to distance herself from ‘silly’ female romance writers but also to cover up the tricky subject of her marital status. The publication of The Mill on the Floss in 1860 led to intense speculation about the author and eventually Marian came forward. Despite her fears of being shunned, her marital situation did not affect her popularity and she was even introduced to Princess Louise, who was a fan.

Her last book was Daniel Deronda, which was published in 1876. After Lewes’s death she once again courted controversy by marrying John Cross, a man twenty years younger than herself. However, she died not long afterwards of kidney disease, on 22 December 1880, at the age of 61.

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Book Info

Publication date

3rd November 2016

Author

George Eliot

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    recommendations

Publisher

Vintage Classics an imprint of Vintage Publishing

Format

Paperback
624 pages

Categories

Classic fiction (pre c 1945)

ISBN

9780099577287

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