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Adam Bede (Penguin Classics) by [Eliot, George]
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Adam Bede (Penguin Classics) Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Review

""Adam Bede" has taken its place among the actual experiences and endurances of my life." --Charles Dickens

"Adam Bede" has taken its place among the actual experiences and endurances of my life. Charles Dickens"

From the Back Cover

Eliot probes deeply into the psychology of commonplace people caught in the act of uncommon heroics. Alexandre Dumas called this novel 'the masterpiece of the century.'

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1335 KB
  • Print Length: 678 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0140436642
  • Publisher: Penguin (24 April 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI9JKA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #361,484 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Stunning and beautifully written insight into the ways, thinking and history of early nineteenth century England. So much to learn from it and so much that echoes what is happening now. George Eliot was a genius.
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Format: Paperback
George Eliot's "Adam Bede" is a delightful read and is a tale of simple country folk in an early nineteenth century rural community.

The main character is carpenter Adam Bede - a strong, righteous man who cares for his aging mother. He does have a weakness - he's in love with vain but beautiful Hetty Sorrel. Unfortunately for Adam, the young Hetty is deluded into thinking that the flirtatious attentions of Captain Donnithorne may lead to marriage.

It is not just a story about a love triangle featuring seduction, murder, and retribution. It is a leisurely novel featuring many interesting characters that include Adam's brother Seth Bede; Methodist preacher Dinah Morris; Hetty's uncle and aunt, the Poysers and their brood of children; Reverend Irwine, the local Anglican minister and teacher Bartle Massey.

At times, George Eliot diverts the reader from the main plot of the story to describe the activities of the locals in their day-to-day life. The author provides the reader with vivid descriptions of the people; their drinking and harvest parties and particularly the landscapes as the seasons unfold. Occasionally, the novel is difficult to follow when the author slips into the 19th century rural dialect but overall the book is an exceedingly good read.
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Format: Paperback
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 Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars 171 reviews
66 of 66 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous and underrated 29 Jun. 2002
By nick turner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Romola is constantly called Eliot's weakest novel, with even serious critics reluctant to praise it. However, it was seen in the 19th century as Eliot's masterpiece. Some of the blame for the novel going out of fashion must rest with F.R. Leavis who said that "few will want to read Romola a second time, and few can ever have got through it once without some groans." If Leavis, viewed as one of the great literary minds, thinks this, then more average readers like us are bound to be put off.
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
71 of 73 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.
41 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Historical Fiction 8 July 2000
By Edward - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
George Eliot spent two years preparing "Romola", and the result is a rich, densely detailed "Tale of the Renaissance". Never a facile writer, here she is concerned with one of the most intellectually challenging (not to mention politically complicated) periods in history; and she paints the panoply and power struggles as a background for the personal tragedy which is the novel's crux. While not an "easy read" in the Sir Walter Scott sense, "Romola" presents in sumptous detail the banquets, the festivities, and the famous bonfire of vanities that one associates with late 15th Century Florence.But from a purely literary viewpoint, the most important thing about the book is its delineation of Tito Melema, the young man who in the opening chapters is the story's hero, but slowly, irrevocably becomes its villain. Neither Sir Walter nor Charles Dickens has psychological insight (in the modern sense) as sharp as George Eliot's, and this study of a fictional character's downfall is one of the most stunning depictions of corruption in English literature. That he is the husband of the heroine, a sensitive, finely sensual woman, makes the tragedy all the more poignant. Scenes involving historical characters (including Savonarola and Machiavelli) tend to be a little stiff in costume movie style. Oh, and because the story takes place in the 1490's, one must imagine the Piazza della Signoria without Michelangelo and Cellini. This must really have frustrated a connoisseur like George Eliot.
36 of 36 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.
32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this book 19 Oct. 2001
By mulcahey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Yes, it bristles with Glossaries and Appendices and Notes like so much barbed wire. (And if you actually read the Penguin editor's introduction, it's a sure thing you'll never read the novel: she makes it sound like about as much fun as chewing rocks.) But don't let all that deter you. You may have some rough going at the beginning, mostly because Latin and Greek scholarship is so important to the plot. Use the notes and they'll enhance your enjoyment of the story, but ignore them and you're still in for a thrilling tale gorgeously told. Tito Melema is one of the great characters in fiction, and he's someone we all know: a thoroughly despicable human being who has no idea he's anything but a nice guy. Eliot has wrought a dreamy and hair-raising hybrid of fiction and history, infused with her own astonishing insight and complicated sympathy and delivered in her matchless prose. I loved this book.
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