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Top Customer Reviews
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
After the first attempt I was mildly disappointed. I came away with no true sense of the whole that is fifteenth century Florence and a bewilderment at the inconsistent central characterisation of Tito Melema and his golden-haired wife, Romola. The supporting actors were brilliant, from Fra Girolama's fantatical Catholicism to Bratti's salesmanship. But I was left disappointed, believing in the superficality of Tito, the maddening naivety of Tessa, and the almost puritanical martyrdom of Romola.
So I re-read it. Slowly.
It is now extremely clear why this great work of english literature is, as Eliot herself puts it, a "book of mine which I more thoroughly feel that I swear by every sentence as having been written with my best blood".
Each scene is mesmerically depicted, the infintesimal attention to details and Eliot's total control of her subject matter shines through.
Renaissance Florence wasn't so well depicted by its contemporaries.
From Tito's waking at the Loggia de' Cerchi to his final fall at the Ponte Vecchio his character moves through a full range as you would expect from a man in his early twenties. His child-like mesmerism coupled with his Greek tutorage gives rise to a cherubic man whom Florence loves.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
George Eliot is best known for her novels of English country life, but this book set in Renaissance Florence just might be her magnum opus. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Karl Janssen
First a disclaimer... George Eliot is absolutely my favorite author and I have read all of her major works multiple times. I am currently in the process of a reread of Romola. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Francis C. Donnelly
Romola is George Eliot's first book which obviously she thought about for a while before putting pen to paper as it show a depth of thought and a careful planning of events that... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Elizabeth Gillespie
Having just read "The Prince" for the first time, I was able to appreciate the details about Savonarola that Eliot filled in for me. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Henryetta Seif
Read this years ago - forgot what a masterpiece it is. Superb writing, and so amusing.Published 8 months ago by Fiona Sneyd
Great read! Love G. Elliot ! Another great contradiction between secular and religious ways of thinking and so much more!Published 9 months ago by musicteacher9
A good book to read with a historical background on Florence, Italy and the cultural changes taking place at the time of Romola.Published 10 months ago by Roxana King
A fascinating work by one of the great masters of English literaturę.Published 11 months ago by Chester Adams