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George Eliot: Adam Bede (Clarendon Edition of the Novels of George Eliot) [Hardcover]

George Eliot , Carol A. Martin
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
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Book Description

29 Mar 2001 Clarendon Edition of the Novels of George Eliot
The Clarendon edition of Adam Bede (1859) is the first critical edition of the work that established George Eliot's reputation. Its extensive textual apparatus lists manuscript and first edition variants from the copy-text, which is the corrected eighth edition of 1861 - her last revision of the book. The introduction locates the genesis of the novel in Eliot's family history, her travels, and her reading of literature and biography, and describes the composition process, including her debate with the publisher John Blackwood about the suitability of the subject-matter for a family audience, as both author and publisher anticipated its appearing initially in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine. Using Blackwood's publication ledgers, it also establishes the details of the eleven complete or nearly complete resettings of the novel in Eliot's lifetime; and examines the author's revisions to a manuscript that is popularly, but erroneously, thought to have been little altered, giving detailed attention to the dialect in the context of more than 900 variants between manuscript and first edition.

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George Eliot: Adam Bede (Clarendon Edition of the Novels of George Eliot) + Daniel Deronda (Everyman's Library classics) + The Mill On The Floss (Everyman's Library Classics)
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 688 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; New Ed edition (29 Mar 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019812595X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198125952
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 15.4 x 4.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,138,066 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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


"Superb scholarly edition of Eliot's Adam Bede ... An indispensable purchase for all academic libraries and large public libraries" -- Choice

About the Author

Dr Valentine Cunningham is Professor of English, Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He is author of British Writers of the Thirties (OUP). --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than a classic - a near perfect book 25 Sep 2009
By bookelephant TOP 1000 REVIEWER
This is a lovely, beautifully crafted book. George Eliot may (as the negative reviewer says) have rejected her low church upbringing. But her remaining affection for its principles and for the people of her childhood (Adam is modelled on her father and the Poyser's farm is a place where she lived as a child) shine through and create what I find to be her warmest and most enagaging book. It is not a book to be taken at a rush - its pace is the pace of the Victorian countryside. Adopting that pace, like the stranger who is introduced with us to Dinah at the preaching, one can see the countryside and the people as clearly as if they were in front of us, and the sense of relationship between all the characters then compels our interest throughout. It also offers from the mouth of Mrs Poyser some of the most enjoyable bon mots in fiction - though some of them (for example "folks mmust put up with their kin, as they put up with their own noses") don't necessarily reflect the modern world! Finally it is ultimately a book about kindness and the light which kindness shines around it, and reminds us that "when death, the great reconciler, has come, it is never our tenderness that we repent of, but our severity". I always think when I read this, how much more pleasant a place the world would be if we all carried this saying with us every day.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping tale of a honourable life 13 Jan 2000
By A Customer
Why hasn't anyone written a review for this book? Is it because it's a classic, and therefore one cannot praise it more? I thought it was wonderful. The story of the honest, upright and faithful Adam Bede and his quiet life beautifully unfolds, with deliciously scripted detail. One of the most remarkable things about the book is the that the delightful description does not prevent tension and drama from unfolding, but adds to the suspense of the various situations Adam finds himself in.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Eliot's best, but its still Eliot... 8 Dec 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Adam Bede is the third book by George Eliot I have read, and I am big fan of her work. I enjoyed this, but it is her first length novel and it shows. I read Mill on the Floss and Middlemarch previously and absolutely loved them, both are truly great literature. It is really an unfair comparison, but Adam Bede doesn't live up to the highest standard set up in those books.

Saying that, there was much here to enjoy. The plot was admittedly slow to get going, very slow in fact and I came close to putting the book down a couple of times, but I am so glad I didn't. This seems to be a feature of Eliot's work, but the pay off for persisting is great. Once the plot kicked in it was gripping, and a brave direction to take given the time it was written. Then there are the characters. At first I found Adam himself a bit insipid and goody-goody, but by the end he was a much better rounded out character and I found myself more drawn to him. Dinah, Hetty, the Poysers, Mr Irwine, Bartle Massey - the list of interesting and very human characters goes on. The two I found myself most drawn to, though, were Seth and Arthur. I found Seth more appealing than his brother Adam - he just seemed more composed, dignified and charitable, despite being very put upon. Arthur is the scoundrel of the book and yet I really liked him. Eliot described his thoughts and feelings as if she had climbed inside his head, and hence all of his actions seemed so understandable, no matter how regrettable.

The book is a charming depiction of a rural way of life we have now lost forever, a time when life was simpler and slower, yet the nature of human beings means it was no less dramatic. There are beautiful descriptions of farm and parish life. At times this gets a bit repetitive.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wordworth editions of George Eliot's works 10 Feb 2011
"Adam Bede", "The Mill on the Floss" and "Silas Marner" in these very cheap PB editions are beautifully produced in clear print: excellent value. I would urge those new to George Eliot to read with patience: these novels take a long time to get going but gradually and steadily increase pace. The introductions are excellent too: but I would advise readers to read the introductions after the novels! DSJP
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Adam Bede 28 Dec 2010
Some of the characters are a bit too good to be true and parts of the plot are a bit hard to believe, (examples would spoil the story) but the writing carries you along and grabs your interest despite these flaws. The characters are well drawn and the descriptions evocative. The pace belongs to a more leisurely period but the writing seemed otherwise fresh and contemporary. Hard to believe that this is a lady writing a century and a half ago.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent value for money - well bound 22 Mar 2010
My review does not concern the narrative or structure of the story (which I will leave to others to review), but rather the physical book itself. If you are looking to build a library that will last a lifetime and not break the bank, then I highly recommend the Everyman's Library series. Each book is nicely bound and printed on high quality paper. The only drawback is that if you are purchasing the book for school or academic study, then bear in mind that the book has very few notes. If you need to refer to notes, then I suggest you buy the Penguin Classics paperback version which has an extensive notes section.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Makes Jane Austen seem like Len Deighton 5 April 2010
After reading the book I thought I would look for a DVD. I remember trying to watch the BBC production of Adam Bede in the early 90's and turning off after a quarter of an hour of Adam's mother whingeing. I guess I should have persevered, for it had a handy cast - Susannah Harker (Dinah, I suppose) and Patsy Kensit, would you believe (Hetty I hope and imagine). But there's only a Region 1 version available and I can't find any evidence of a more recent adaptation. But perhaps that's not surprising - I can see how it would be a fiendishly difficult book to televise (still yet to film) while remaining even vaguely faithful to the text.

For it hardly rips along. By page 300 the only events had been Dinah turning down Seth, Adam and Seth's father dying and Arthur kissing Hetty, once. The plot sputters into action after that, though I'm not sure that the book improves at that stage, since the storyline is rather formulaic. And yet I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is a lovely book - a beautifully written, amusing, sympathetic (yet warts and all) pen picture of country life. Like Brueghel in words.

Read it like I did - slowly, a few pages at a time - and immerse yourself in a simpler time.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating
A story so well written, you are transported to rural 19th century life in a gripping love story. You won't be able to put the book down.
Published 10 months ago by Sue Davies
5.0 out of 5 stars Well so far a friend is loving it.
Lookingforward to getting it back in a while.. reading it and discussing it so no review as yet but it is beeing appreciated at the moment I know.
Published 11 months ago by susan hellum
4.0 out of 5 stars Rural life in England at the turn of the 18th/19th centuries
This is George Eliot's first major novel but it is by no means an apprentice effort. She writes so well and her sympathy for her characters and the society in which they live is so... Read more
Published 13 months ago by E. Woolley
4.0 out of 5 stars Very very good, very very slow.
As a member of a book group this was one of our reads for this year. Difficult to know what to say about the book. I haven't read any other George Eliot. Read more
Published 17 months ago by revjon
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovestories of today and yesterday
A lovely book! It's been more than ten years since I last read a 19th century novel but George Eliot still catches my all too modern imagination... Read more
Published on 17 Sep 2010 by Joanna
5.0 out of 5 stars George Eliot, A Master Story Teller
George Eliot (AKA Mary Anne Evans) is a master story teller with a fine attention to the detail and nuance of the people and time she is writing about. Read more
Published on 20 Feb 2010 by Silvanus
5.0 out of 5 stars touching book that will stay with you a while after you read it
this is my 2nd fav book of all time...the characters are beautifully crafted and so special that you end up really caring what happens to them. Lots of twists and turns... Read more
Published on 8 Jun 2008 by mrs_t
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