Daniel Deronda by George Eliot

 danielderondaF. R. Leavis in The Great Tradition, published in 1948, states: “The great English novelists are Jane Austen, George Eliot, Henry James and Joseph Conrad.” That they not only “change the possibilities of art for practitioners and readers”, but that they also advance an “awareness of the possibilities of life”. In her final novel, George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans) really does go for it (over nine-hundred pages) and parts of it are amazing, but it is reckoned that she loses the run of things, especially with the Zionist subplot. However, the novel’s Gwendolen Harleth ranks right up there with Dorothea Brooke (of Eliot’s Middlemarch) as one of the greatest literary characters. Though Henry James’ novels are still better.

Mr A

 

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