Making masterful use of a counterpointed plot, Eliot presents the stories of a number of denizens of a small English town on the eve of the Reform Bill of 1832. The main characters, Dorothea Brooke... More > and Tertius Lydgate, each long for exceptional lives but are powerfully constrained by their own unrealistic expectations as well as conservative society. The novel is notable for its deep psychological insight and sophisticated character portraits.< Less
Daniel Deronda is a novel by George Eliot, first published in 1876. It was the last novel she completed and the only one set in the contemporary Victorian society of her day. Its mixture of social... More > satire and moral searching, along with a sympathetic rendering of Jewish proto-Zionist and Kabbalistic ideas has made it a controversial final statement of one of the greatest of Victorian novelists.
The novel has been filmed three times, once as a silent feature and twice for television. It has also been adapted for the stage, most notably in a production in the 1960s by the 69 Theatre Company in Manchester with Vanessa Redgrave cast as the heroine Gwendolen Harleth.< Less
Rebellious and affectionate, Maggie Tulliver is always in trouble. Recalling her own experiences as a girl, George Eliot describes Maggie's turbulent childhood with a sympathetic engagement that... More > makes the early chapters of The Mill on the Floss among the most immediately attractive she ever wrote.< Less
In Silas Marner, Eliot combines symbolism with a historically precise setting to create a tale of love and hope. This novel explores the issues of redemptive love, the notion of community, the role... More > of religion, and the status of the gentry and family. While religion and religious devotion play a strong part in this text, Eliot concerns herself with matters of ethics, and it is clear that for her, ethics exist apart from religion. On the surface, the book has a strong moral tract; the bad character, Dunstan Cass, gets his just deserts, while the pitiable character, Silas Marner, is ultimately richly rewarded, and his miserliness corrected. Although it seems like a simple moral story with a happy ending, George Eliot's text includes several pointed criticisms of organized religion, the role of the gentry, and the negative impacts of industrialisation.< Less
Adam Bede, the first novel written by George Eliot (the pen name of Mary Ann Evans), was published in 1859. It was published pseudonymously, even though Evans was a well-published and highly... More > respected scholar of her time. The novel has remained in print ever since, and is used in university studies of 19th century English literature.< Less