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Adam Bede (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – June 16, 2008
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"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Pre-order today
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`Review from previous edition 'Carol Martin demonstrates that the first edition will not do and persuasively makes the case for taking as copy-text the corrected 'eighth edition' of 1861...the notes are the best available''
Stephen Gill, The George Eliot Review, No. 33, 2002 [n.b. Gill is editor of the Penguin edition, which uses the first edition text]
From the Back Cover
Eliot probes deeply into the psychology of commonplace people caught in the act of uncommon heroics. Alexandre Dumas called this novel 'the masterpiece of the century.'
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Enter the long-traveling son, who has made his fortune in the middle east and has the potential to restore the estate to its former grandeur. Indeed, he sets about doing this, and as that process begins, the other plots are ushered in. There is a great deal of time and effort spent on the Whigs, Tories, and Radicals, which was interesting and yet prompted me to Google various terms on a frequent basis. For us 21st century Americans, a lot of water has gone under the bridge since these royalist/anti-royalist/labor concepts were in flower. The central plot, however, is the love story between the lovely Esther Lyon and her reluctant suitor, Felix Holt. Felix seems to embody the pure voice of the common man, speaking with courage, selflessness, and unabashed virtue. He is almost unbelievably pristine in his moral makeup, but he was still fascinating. His prompting and nudging of Esther to abandon her pettiness and vanity has a surprisingly rapid effect on her, but this did not bother me, as I found the "early Esther" to be quite annoying and I--like Felix--very much wanted her to change.
Felix gets himself in some very hot legal water through a chain of events that seems a bit fantastical, but the plot moves along briskly. I am so used to George Eliot and have so much respect for her that I don't mind her lofty and rhapsodic passages. They are fine and they help make her the great author she is.
ROMOLA, the historical novel that preceded FELIX HOLT, is the most lifeless book she ever wrote. FELIX HOLT is a return to form, but it's not entirely successful. There's a very good explanation of why this is the case in Leavis' GREAT TRADITION. While HOLT is worth reading for the complete picture of George Eliot's novelistic career, her genius is best discovered in MIDDLEMARCH, her next novel, and in the "Gwendolyn Harleth" part of DANIEL DERONDA.