Daniel Deronda (Wordsworth Classics) Paperback – 5 May 1996
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""Daniel Deronda" is a startling and unexpected novel . . . it is a cosmic myth, a world history, and a morality play." --A. S. Byatt
"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.
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.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A smartly written thoughtful character study of a young man exploring his Jewish heritage. The other part focusses on a headstrong spoilt young beauty who marries unhappily and... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Lee09
Very well produced paperback with fascinating introduction. Volume in perfect condition, delivered very promptly. I am very pleased.
I have just finished. It's four in the morning. I absolutely loved it. I feel bereft. A cast iron masterpiece.Published 3 months ago by Theo
Brilliant. Need stamina to get through it but pays back the effort you put in. Realised Mordecai is (or was) Theodor Hertzel.Published 7 months ago by Anne Burge
I'm ashamed to say I'm finding George Eliot's last novel very heavy going.
I loved her early ones, got on fine with ROMOLA and FELIX HOLT (which seemed rather derivative) and... Read more
I loved the film but the actual book is written in quite old fashioned language and not easy to read. it would be good if it could be re written in more modern English.Published 11 months ago by vanillalatte
Great read. Challenging use of language at times but the dictionary was always within reach if necessary.Published 15 months ago by Alex Filipowski