Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Daniel Deronda - The Final Novel of Gerorge Eliot - 1876 - 752 pages

George Eliot

1819 to 1880, England

Since beginning my blog I have read and posted on these four of her seven novels:


Silas Marner-1861

The Mill on the Floss-1860

And her final novel, Daniel Deronda, 1876.

Middlemarch is seen by many as the greatest novel written by an author from England.  For sure it is among the greatest novels of all time.  

Daniel Deronda is not quite up to the level of Middlemarch, but then what is?  It is the only one of her novels set in contemporary to writing time.

It is a very serious challenging book.  As in the greatest literature, you will learn somethings about yourself from this book. It might take a while to get the characters straight in your mind but they will all fall in place.

The title character Daniel Deronda is the ward of a wealthy bachelor.  Everyone, including Daniel, assumes he is Sir Hugo’s child from a clandestine affair.  The other central character is a young woman, Gwendolyn who Daniel first meets at a casino in Germany.  Gwendolyn has just lost a lot of money at roulette, to which she seems abducted.  Their stories structure much of the novel.  

About a third way into the novel Daniel saves a young Jewish woman who is trying to drown herself in the Thames.  He takes her to the house of a wonderful family who shelter her.  In one of the very best segments of the novel we learn her terrible life story. 

Much of the novel is taken up with the question of the place of Jews in English society.  Daniel adopts as his teacher in Jewish culture a man dying of consumption. This man thinks Daniel, his heritage is at this point unknown, is Jewish but Daniel does not believe this.

There are some very interesting plot turns I will leave untold.  Exciting things happen, big revelations are made.

To those new to Eliot, by all means first read Middlemarch.  

I would like to read her other three novels, maybe I will read Adam Bead next.

Please share your experience with George Eliot with us

Mel u

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