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Daniel Deronda (Wordsworth Classics) [Paperback]

George Eliot
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Dec 1996 Wordsworth Classics

This Wordsworth Edition includes an exclusive Introduction and Notes by Dr Carole Jones, freelance writer and researcher.

George Eliot's final novel, Daniel Deronda (1876), follows the intertwining lives of the beautiful but spoiled and selfish Gwendolene Harleth and the selfless yet alienated Daniel Deronda, as they search for personal and vocational fulfilment and sympathetic relationship.

Set largely in the degenerate English aristocratic society of the 1860s, Daniel Deronda charts their search for meaningful lives against a background of imperialism, the oppression of women, and racial and religious prejudice. Gwendolen's attempts to escape a sadistic relationship and atone for past actions catalyse her friendship with Deronda, while his search for origins leads him, via Judaism, to a quest for moral growth.

Eliot's radical dual narrative constantly challenges all solutions and ensures that the novel is as controversial now, as when it first appeared.

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Daniel Deronda (Wordsworth Classics) + Adam Bede (Wordsworth Classics) + The Mill on the Floss (Wordsworth Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 752 pages
  • Publisher: Wordsworth Editions Ltd (1 Dec 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 (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 38,572 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


Hugh Bonneville, Romola Garai, Hugh Dancy and Jodhi May star in Andrew Davies' three-part adaptation of Eliot's passionate, intense love story for BBC One in November. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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 alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I think he is not like young men in general 7 Jun 2009
"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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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
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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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A satisfying read 8 May 2003
'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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling and intriguing read
Daniel Deronda centres around several characters. It relates to an intersection of Jewish and Gentile society in 19th century England. Read more
Published 12 days ago by Gary Selikow
3.0 out of 5 stars Much too wordy, but I made it to the end.
Great story (see other reviews). Lofty themes. Kept me turning the pages. But... oh how it really, really needed a good editor. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Peter R
2.0 out of 5 stars Wake me up when it's finished
Daniel Deronda failed to hold me: I could not warm to George Eliot's grey, elephantine prose. The book smells too much of the lamp, and the characters are there to illustrate a... Read more
Published 8 months ago by A reader in England
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for your library
George Eliot is one of the truly great authors of the 19th century and this, her last novel, is equal or perhaps exceeds anything she wrote previously. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Paul F.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great novel
A very long novel with a gripping story. You can skim parts of it an not lose much. Extremely interesting as it deal with the Jewish problem and mentions Zionism; and this was... Read more
Published 8 months ago by T. J. Smtih
3.0 out of 5 stars Heavy going
I am an admirer of George Eliot but I have not read Daniel Deronda before. The first half of the book comes up to expectations but then it gets bogged down in what amounts to... Read more
Published 10 months ago by E. Woolley
5.0 out of 5 stars Genius
It's not just that the story is interesting; it's also that Ms Eliot uses such diverse, amazing references. The notes on the text are interesting in their own right. Read more
Published 14 months ago by L. Wilson
4.0 out of 5 stars Take a week off for this giant of a book.
I was on holiday, luckily, as I was reading this great book against a deadline for a book club (all male - and this was our first female author). I found it fairly hard work. Read more
Published 14 months ago by J SWIFT
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought that prejudice against Jews in England stopped with the...
Some of the bullying between Grandcourt and Gwendolen was awful. I admit I haven't read the book since I was about 18 and couldn't remember much of it as I was asked to read so... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Sally Burdyke
5.0 out of 5 stars book
this book was a great hit, The Everyman books, make the writing a reasonable size so that they are readable.
The original classics, but with modern type. Very good.
Published on 11 Jan 2012 by Email Bod
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