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Daniel Deronda (Wordsworth Classics) Paperback – 5 May 1996

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Product details

  • Paperback: 752 pages
  • Publisher: Wordsworth Editions (5 May 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1853261769
  • ISBN-13: 978-1853261763
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.7 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 59,495 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'.


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Review

"Daniel Deronda" is a startling and unexpected novel . . . it is a cosmic myth, a world history, and a morality play. A. S. Byatt" --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

George Eliot's final novel is an extraordinary, keen and yet tender examination of two very different lives. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 7 Jun. 2009
Format: Paperback
"Daniel Deronda" was the last novel George Eliot wrote, and it's an appropriate finale to her career -- a lushly-written, heartfelt story about a young man searching for his past (and clues to his future), as well as a vibrant strong-willed young lady who discovers that life doesn't always go your way. Even better, Eliot deftly avoided the cliches and caricatures of the Jewish people, portraying them with love and respect.

Daniel Deronda is the ward (and rumored illegitimate son) of a nobleman, who is unsure of his past (particularly of his mother) catching a glimpse of pretty, reckless, arrogant Gwendolyn Harleth at a casino. Gwendolyn (who boasts that she gets everything she wants) is interested in Daniel, but when her family loses all their money, she marries a rich suitor, a relative of Daniel's -- knowing that his mistress and illegitimate children will be disinherited. But she soon finds that her new husband is a sadistic brute, and sees Daniel as her only help.

Meanwhile, Daniel rescues the despairing Mirah Lapidoth from a suicide attempt in the river, and he helps the young Jewish singer find a home and friends to care for her. As he helps her find her family, he becomes passionately attached to the Jewish population and their plight, embodied by a dying young visionary and a kindly shopkeeping family. Then he receives an important message -- one that will illuminate his roots, and give him a course for the future.

When Eliot published her final novel, it caused a massive stir -- not many novelists tackled the plight of the Jewish population, or how it compared to the gilded upper classes.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Rowland Nelken on 14 Nov. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This tale is brilliantly crafted and a great page turner (all 675 of them). The contrast between outward appearance and inner emotion, particularly of Gwendolen, is particularly well drawn. The lady who appears to have everything; wealth, beauty, attractive accomplishments, houses, horses, fancy frocks and jewellery galore; is inwardly in torment.

The reader is drawn straightway into this remote world of 19th century English 'society', with all its strange mores and values. The melodrama of lost relations, show business, Jews as exotic outsiders, attempted suicide, a drowning, a kept woman and disputed wills are all here.

There is a wealth of engaging characters. Gwendolen is transformed, via a terrible marriage for money, from spoilt little rich girl to mature woman, the embodiment of benevolence. Mirah, the beautiful Jewess with the beautiful singing voice, is saved from suicide and reunited with her long lost family. Mordecai is the saintly and ailing bookish Jew. The Meyrick family are, even with their Bohemian, and sometimes junkie, brother, the embodiment of kindness to an almost sickly degree.

The main man, Daniel Deronda, betrays George Eliot's attitude to Jews. For the plot to have meaning, one must agree that the Jews are a race, and not simply followers of a particular faith. The book was written in the 1870s, when some Jews in Europe were first taking practical steps to return to the Promised Land and create for themselves a new nation. Such a future seemed bright and open; justice and freedom lay ahead. That is where the book ends. What George Eliot would have made of the modern State of Israel, the result of Deronda's great mission in life, we cannot possibly say.

For all the mistaken assumptions about Jewish identity, the starkly good and evil characterisations, the novel is a great monument to the storyteller's craft.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By "vidani75" on 16 May 2003
Format: Paperback
Within reading the first few chapters, Daniel Deronda became my most beloved and favourite of books. I was reading my first Eliot novel, Middlemarch when I saw the advertisements on BBC one for their serial of Daniel Deronda, and knowing little of Eliots other work I watched it with little knowledge of this story. But I was enchanted by the characters and their lives and couldn't wait to read the book. As soon as I had started I wished I hadn't seen the programme first and knew how the story ended, however there was so much more to learn about the characters whilst reading the book that I was consoled. Eliot is a master storyteller and is capable of completely emmersing her readers into her world. I have read of adults finding Eliot difficult to take in, but I was fifteeen when I first read Daniel Deronda and Middlemarch and once I got used to her complex language and analogies I couldn't put it down. I found myself waking up early in the morning just to read and rushing home from school to pick up from that morning. I would recommend Daniel Deronda to anybody that loves romance and drama - Daniel Deronda is packed full of both. Gwendolen is such a tragic heroine, Daniel and Mirah are so impossible not to fall in love with and Grandcourt such a wonderful character to completely detest that I'm sure many other readers will agree that Daniel Deronda is a classic work of genius.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By "janeymouse" on 8 May 2003
Format: Paperback
'Daniel Deronda' is a very satisfying novel - at over 800 pages, it is verging on epic proportions, and its meandering style is at times at odds with a page turning cranking up of the plot - but nevertheless, I seem to have gotten through it surprisingly quickly! Having literally caught a glimpse of the recent TV version, I was intrigued by one line: 'it shall be better with me for knowing you' - and such simple but profound reflections characterise Eliot's style. It is an intensely psychological novel, and Eliot's study of her emotionally self centered heroine, Gwendolen Harleth, as she evolves, through experience, into an admirable woman is really remarkable. It is the kind of novel where the insight shown in portraying the characters makes you feel like you are truly learning something about yourself and others, and to me that is what makes a novel great. Eliot is also concerned with questions of religious and national identity, and the tension between separateness and togetherness is still resonant today. 'Daniel Deronda' is probably less famous than Eliot's other novels 'The Mill on the Floss' and 'Middlemarch', and possibly less finished, but nevertheless highly successful on its own terms. Full of insight - give it a try!
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