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Romola Unabridged Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 170 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0786162185
ISBN-10: 078616218X
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“George Eliot’s humanity colors all her other gifts—her humor, her morality, and her exquisite rhetoric.” —Henry James --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Inside Flap

George Eliot's Romola, writes Robert Kiely in his Introduction, embodies the author's "wrestling with her own best theories of history and human nature as a creative experiment of the highest order." Set in Florence in 1492, a time of great political and religious turmoil, Eliot's novel blends vivid fictional characters with historical figures such as Savonarola, Machiavelli, and the Medicis. When Romola, the virtuous daughter of a blind scholar, marries Tito Melema, a charismatic young Greek, she is bound to a man whose escalating betrayals threaten to destroy all that she holds dear. Profoundly inspired by Savonarola's teachings, then crushed by the religious leader's ultimate failure, Romola finds her salvation in noble self-sacrifice. This Modern Library Paperback Classic is set from the 1878 Cabinet Edition. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks; Unabridged edition (January 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 078616218X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786162185
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.9 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (170 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,502,707 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Romola is constantly called Eliot's weakest novel, with even serious critics reluctant to praise it. However, it was seen in the 19th century as Eliot's masterpiece. Some of the blame for the novel going out of fashion must rest with F.R. Leavis who said that "few will want to read Romola a second time, and few can ever have got through it once without some groans." If Leavis, viewed as one of the great literary minds, thinks this, then more average readers like us are bound to be put off.
True, the start of Romola is bogged down in detail, but it is introduced by a wonderful, stirring and majestic 'Proem' which sees the Angel of the Dawn sweeping across the Earth and loftily states how humanity is the same now as it was when Romola is set. After this, the notes are best ignored - consult them separately, and concentrate on getting into the book. It is a stirring and sometimes hard read, and moves one with awe at what Eliot has created - you really feel you are experiencing Florence in the 15th century. There is one scene that stands out for me - the haunting and almost surreal episode where Romola drifts by boat to an apparent coastal haven. Images of peace and life are reversed disturbingly.
So ignore Leavis and the dissenters. If you've read another Eliot, you'll like it. If you haven't, maybe start with something else, but come back, for it's a rewarding read
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Format: Paperback
Adam Bede, the titular hero of George Eliot's first novel, is of a character so sterling that one little anecdote serves to define his whole life and work ethic: He's a carpenter, and he had done some work for a lady whose father, an old squire named Donnithorne, suggested that she pay him less than the fee he requested. Adam insisted that he would rather take no money for the job, for to accept a reduced amount would be like admitting he overcharges for shoddy work. By standing on his principles, he won his full fee in the end and cemented his reputation as a businessman of honor and acumen, proving his fairness to both his customers and himself.
Thus he seems an unlikely match for Hetty Sorrel, the prettiest girl in the village of Hayslope. Vain, selfish, materialistic, hating her laborious farm chores, Hetty bears more than a passing resemblance to Flaubert's Madame Bovary. However, while Madame Bovary's unattainable dream world is inspired by her reading romances, Hetty "had never read a novel" so she can't "find a shape for her expectations" regarding love. Unable to foresee any possible consequences for her actions, she allows herself to be seduced by Arthur Donnithorne, the old squire's grandson, who stands to inherit the land on which most of the Hayslopers live.
Arthur is a radiant example of Eliot's mastery in complicated character creation. Acutely aware of his position in society, he has the kind of charisma with which he can talk to his tenants politely but with just the slightest hint of condescension and completely win their respect for his authority.
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Format: Paperback
George Eliot spent two years preparing "Romola", and the result is a rich, densely detailed "Tale of the Renaissance". Never a facile writer, here she is concerned with one of the most intellectually challenging (not to mention politically complicated) periods in history; and she paints the panoply and power struggles as a background for the personal tragedy which is the novel's crux. While not an "easy read" in the Sir Walter Scott sense, "Romola" presents in sumptous detail the banquets, the festivities, and the famous bonfire of vanities that one associates with late 15th Century Florence.But from a purely literary viewpoint, the most important thing about the book is its delineation of Tito Melema, the young man who in the opening chapters is the story's hero, but slowly, irrevocably becomes its villain. Neither Sir Walter nor Charles Dickens has psychological insight (in the modern sense) as sharp as George Eliot's, and this study of a fictional character's downfall is one of the most stunning depictions of corruption in English literature. That he is the husband of the heroine, a sensitive, finely sensual woman, makes the tragedy all the more poignant. Scenes involving historical characters (including Savonarola and Machiavelli) tend to be a little stiff in costume movie style. Oh, and because the story takes place in the 1490's, one must imagine the Piazza della Signoria without Michelangelo and Cellini. This must really have frustrated a connoisseur like George Eliot.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Adam Bede is more volatile than Middlemarch, but also more powerful. It centers around the life of a master carpenter, Adam Bede, and the people in his village above and equal to his caste, and his conflicted love for a young woman who has also caught the attention of the young aristocrat who is the nominal authority within the community, with tragic consequences. It is not only worth the download, but equally deserves your focus and attention.
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