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Adam Bede (Oxford World's Classics) [Paperback]

George Eliot , Carol A. Martin
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

8 May 2008 Oxford World's Classics
'Our deeds carry their terrible consequences...consequences that are hardly ever confined to ourselves.'

Pretty Hetty Sorrel is loved by the village carpenter Adam Bede, but her head is turned by the attentions of the fickle young squire, Arthur Donnithorne. His dalliance with the dairymaid has unforeseen consequences that affect the lives of many in their small rural community. First published in 1859, Adam Bede carried its readers back sixty years to the lush countryside of Eliot's native Warwickshire, and a time of impending change for England and the wider world. Eliot's powerful portrayal of the interaction of ordinary people brought a new social realism to the novel, in which humour and tragedy co-exist, and fellow-feeling is the mainstay of human relationships. Faith, in the figure of Methodist preacher Dinah Morris, offers redemption to all who are willing to embrace it.

This new edition is based on the definitive Clarendon edition and Eliot's corrected text of 1861.

ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

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Adam Bede (Oxford World's Classics) + The Loved One: An Anglo-American Tragedy (Penguin Modern Classics) + To the Lighthouse (Wordsworth Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (8 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199203474
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199203475
  • Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 13 x 2.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,288 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mary Ann (Marian) Evans was born in 1819 in Warwickshire. She attended schools in Nuneaton and Coventry, coming under the influence of evangelical teachers and clergymen. In 1836 her mother died and Marian became her father's housekeeper, educating herself in her spare time. In 1841 she moved to Coventry, and met Charles and Caroline Bray, local progressive intellectuals. Through them she was commissioned to translate Strauss's Life of Jesus and met the radical publisher John Chapman, who, when he purchased the Westminster Review in 1851, made her his managing editor.

Having lost her Christian faith and thereby alienated her family, she moved to London and met Herbert Spencer (whom she nearly married, only he found her too 'morbidly intellectual') and the versatile man-of-letters George Henry Lewes. Lewes was separated from his wife, but with no possibility of divorce. In 1854 he and Marian decided to live together, and did so until Lewes's death in 1878. It was he who encouraged her to turn from philosophy and journalism to fiction, and during those years, under the name of George Eliot, she wrote Scenes of Clerical Life, Adam Bede, The Mill on the Floss, Silas Marner, Romola, Felix Holt, Middlemarch and Daniel Deronda, as well as numerous essays, articles and reviews.

George Eliot died in 1880, only a few months after marrying J. W. Cross, an old friend and admirer, who became her first biographer. She was buried beside Lewes at Highgate. George Eliot combined a formidable intelligence with imaginative sympathy and acute powers of observation, and became one of the greatest and most influential of English novelists. Her choice of material widened the horizons of the novel and her psychological insights radically influenced the novelist's approach to characterization. Middlemarch, considered by most to be her masterpiece, was said by Virginia Woolf to be 'one of the few English novels written for grown-up people'.


Product Description

Review

this was a wonderful novel, layered and beautiful and complex. The fact that I wanted there to be even more of it is a testimony to how good it was. (Jenny Brown, Shelf Love)

About the Author

Carol A. Martin is Professor of English at Boise State University.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greats 30 Jan 2012
By SJR
Format:Paperback
One of my all-time favourites - the classic nineteenth-century realist novel with the chapter setting out so beautifully what the realist novel is about, which might make it seem dry and theoretical, but it is not at all. A moving and absorbing story for any reader, which deals with issues still relevant today. I don't want to say more about the plot and spoil it for those who are unfamiliar with it, but this is a novel which manages to deal with tragic events without depressing the reader, although unlike many Victorian novels does not resort to a sentimental happy ending. Well worth reading if you haven't read it before and easier to read than Middlemarch (Oxford World's Classics) if you are new to George Eliot. If you enjoy nineteenth-century novels you are sure to enjoy this. The Oxford World's Classics editions are my favourites, and not just for the pretty covers - the thorough introductions and chronologies really do help set the text in context. If you are an impoverished student, try to find a secondhand World's Classics edition, rather than buying a brand new cheap Wordsworth which tend not to have the critical apparatus - the extras often give you a few clues for essays and seminar papers!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A very human writer 27 May 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
There could not be a more thoughtful writer than George Eliot, she considered everything of what it means to be human and wove it into her novels. Adam Bede is perhaps not as sophisticated in style as Daniel Deronda, but is still a wonderful read. George takes us on a slow journey through her pastoral landscape and what she says of life in the 19th century, you find is often just as relevant to us now.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Eliot's Thomas Hardy novel 28 Dec 2009
By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
If you've read Middlemarch and/or Daniel Deronda, this is a very different George Eliot. More akin to The Mill on the Floss, it tells a story of rural tragedy which might have influenced Hardy, particularly in Tess.

Taking in Eliot's concerns about class, gender and education, this is a moving book that both depicts a lost world and yet involves subjects which still concern us today: a girl's choice between the exciting and staid lover, and the consequences of unthinking sex.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 3 Sep 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  83 reviews
54 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Goodness prevails 28 July 2003
By A.J. - Published on Amazon.com
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. In fact, he is so accustomed to receiving nothing but admiration for his apparent moral integrity that it comes as a genuine shock to him when Adam, a man he truly likes, reproaches him for his reckless behavior with Hetty, a girl both he and Adam truly love. And the tragic irony is that Hetty doesn't really deserve either of them.
Religion plays a curious role in the story. Adam's brother Seth is infatuated with a woman named Dinah Morris, a cousin's cousin to Hetty and a Methodist evangelistic preacher who was inspired by Wesley in the flesh. Her influence among the villagers comes to the attention of the Anglican Rev. Dauphin Irwine, the vicar of Hayslope, who visits her to try to figure out her game and concludes that she's essentially a good woman with a good heart. Indeed, she is the first one to sense that Hetty may be headed for troubled waters and earnestly offers her spiritual guidance, to which Hetty responds with distrust and irritation.
Most powerful of the novel's images is that of Hetty wandering through the darkness and dangers of the English countryside in desperate search of the departed Arthur, carrying with her a symbol of their tormented love, and oblivious to the goodness of Adam, whose only desire is to protect her from the disappointment, shame, and disgrace that result from her pitiful reliance on Arthur's ability to buy her pretty things. But Eliot is too fond of her hero to let him suffer for long when the tides of fate come crashing violently to their inevitable shores, and the ultimate product is a novel of great compassion for its characters.
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Relevant social commentary 14 Nov 2009
By Joanne Marinelli - Published on Amazon.com
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.
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read 22 Sep 2010
By Jill Whitman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
I started reading George Elliot's works after initially reading "The Mill on the Floss". There are few writers that I enjoy reading as much. She makes me feel as though I am experiencing the emotions of her characters. I am swept away and have trouble putting her books down. I love the themes she chooses to write about. Her characters are believable and the works are always filled with choices and consequences of everyday people. She does a phenomenal job of weaving the web of the interactions of the characters and demonstrating how each person's actions have affected the others.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Classic! 4 Sep 1999
By anna-joelle - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Highly recommended for those who loves classic literature. George Elliot beautifully captured the lives of the people in rural English country in the late 18th century and early 19th century. I guarantee you'll fall in love with all the 4 main characters ie. Adam Bede, Hetty Sorrel, Lord Arthur and Dinah Morris before you finish the book. The courting scenes involving Adam Bede and Dinah are both very romantic and honest. George Elliot had a great understanding of human nature which makes the story very believable although it's fiction. ADAM BEDE's a hero in my heart, and this book's a must read for all literature fans.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic tale of strength and weakness 29 July 2002
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
George Eliot weaves a simple story of love, suffering, and goodness. While the plot is hardly complex (boy loves girl, another boy gets girl, unhappiness abounds - also reused in Mill on the Floss), the manner in which Eliot develops her characters and their emotions and actions ring as true and resoundingly as a bell. It's so clear, so obvious, but also moving and textured. You feel Adam's absolute love for vain little Hetty, Dinah's calming grace, Arthur's good intentions, Lisbeth's fretting nature. Eliot draws you in with her honest observations of life in a country town, without the background becoming a dominant factor. The near idyllic life the characters lead is a healthy contrast to the town's emotional upheaval.
Adam is an upright, genuine character, and not as perfect as he seems. If his love for Hetty seems unfounded at times, it only serves to highlight how dangerous delusions can be. All the "sinners" are ultimately redeemed by truth - true love, true friends, true promises, and true acceptance. Religion plays a significant part in the novel, but don't let that deter you. It's so much more than that - Adam Bede is truly one of the few works that encompass a world of humanity between two covers.
AB reminded me of Tess of the D'Ubervilles a bit, but there is no villain here, just flawed, honest people in search of unattainable dreams. In the process of trying to get a bit of happiness, they stumble and bleed, but ultimately find something truly worth having. Bittersweetness is Eliot's trademark for good reason.
George Eliot's first full novel is obviously a bit less polished than her later works, but you see the wonderful command she has over language and expression. The book, the people, the story all come alive with her touch. A rare read that has something to say and says it beautifully.
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