George Eliot fans are in for a treat! Included in this six pack:


Virginia Woolf described Eliot's Middlemarch as "the magnificent book that, with all its imperfections, is one of the few English novels written for grown-up people." Martin Amis and Julian Barnes have cited it as probably the greatest novel in the English language. Eliot's long, sprawling work is about social and political reform. But it's also a novel about love and marriage. And about trying and failing. And about second chances. It boasts multiple plots with a large cast of characters, and in addition to its distinct though interlocking narratives it pursues a number of underlying themes, including the status of women, the nature of marriage, idealism and self-interest, religion and hypocrisy, political reform, and education. The pace is leisurely, the tone is mildly didactic (with an authorial voice that occasionally bursts through the narrative), and the canvas is very broad.

At the story's center stands the intellectual and idealistic Dorothea Brooke -- a character who in many ways resembles Eliot herself. But the very qualities that set Dorothea apart from the materialistic, mean-spirited society around her also lead her into a disastrous marriage with a man she mistakes for her soul mate. In a parallel story, young doctor Tertius Lydgate, who is equally idealistic, falls in love with the pretty but vain and superficial Rosamund Vincy, whom he marries to his ruin. Eliot surrounds her main figures with a gallery of characters drawn from every social class, from laborers and shopkeepers to the rising middle class to members of the wealthy, landed gentry. Together they form an extraordinarily rich and precisely detailed portrait of English provincial life in the 1830s. But Dorothea's and Lydgate's struggles to retain their moral integrity in the midst of temptation and tragedy remind us that their world is very much like our own. Strikingly modern in its painful ironies and psychological insight, Middlemarch was pivotal in the shaping of twentieth-century literary realism.

Daniel Deronda

"No evil dooms us hopelessly except the evil we love, and desire to continue in, and make no effort to escape from."

George Eliot's last novel represents the author's summing up, the book in which she hoped to bring together all the values, ideals, and beliefs that had informed her earlier work. Daniel Deronda has been called the first international novel. Eliot takes the reader to London, Paris, Prague, Vienna, Rome, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Mainz, Genoa, Trieste, Beirut (or 'Beyrout' as Eliot spells it), Sardinia, Corsica, Ajaccio, Palestine, and New York -- a globe-hopping journey that in itself makes Deronda unique among Eliot's novels. This is also Eliot's most original novel in its construction, one of the earliest examples in English prose fiction of what would become the hallmark of much modern literature: the replacement of the straightforward, linear plot -- beginning, middle, end -- with a disrupted, nonlinear plot that depends on both flashbacks and flash-forwards. Its mixture of social satire and moral searching, along with a sympathetic rendering of Jewish proto-Zionist and Kabbalistic ideas, has made it a controversial final statement of one of the greatest of Victorian novelists.


Silas Marner
The Lifted Veil
The Mill on the Floss
Adam Bede

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