Books

Adam Bede

George Eliot

It may seem like an old tale: the beautiful village girl, her faithful admirer, a country squire's seduction. But seen through the eyes of any of its players, the old tale becomes one of fresh heartbreak, innocent hopes, best intentions gone awry, and better selves lost and restored. George Eliot's first novel shows all her humane intelligence and intimate knowledge of the richness and complexity of ordinary life.

Daniel Deronda

George Eliot

A beautiful young woman stands poised over the gambling tables in an expensive hotel. She is aware of, and resents, the gaze of an unusual young man, a stranger, who seems to judge her, and find her wanting. The encounter will change her life.

The strange young man is Daniel Deronda, brought up with his own origins shrouded in mystery, searching for a compelling outlet for his singular talents and remarkable capacity for empathy. Deronda's destiny will change the lives of many.

The Lifted Veil

George Eliot

'Why did she stand before me with the candle in her hand, with her cruel contemptuous eyes fixed on me, and the glittering serpent, like a familiar demon, on her breast?'

In this dark novella of Victorian horror, George Eliot explores clairvoyance, fate and the possibility of life after death.

One of 46 new books in the bestselling Little Black Classics series, to celebrate the first ever Penguin Classic in 1946. Each book gives readers a taste of the Classics' huge range and diversity, with works from around the world and across the centuries - including fables, decadence, heartbreak, tall tales, satire, ghosts, battles and elephants.

Silas Marner

George Eliot

The Penguin English Library Edition of Silas Marner by George Eliot

"God gave her to me because you turned your back upon her, and He looks upon her as mine: you've no right to her!"

Wrongly accused of theft and exiled from a religious community many years before, the embittered weaver Silas Marner lives alone in Raveloe, living only for work and his precious hoard of money. But when his money is stolen and an orphaned child finds her way into his house, Silas is given the chance to transform his life. His fate, and that of the little girl he adopts, is entwined with Godfrey Cass, son of the village Squire, who, like Silas, is trapped by his past. Silas Marner, George Eliot's favourite of her novels, combines humour, rich symbolism and pointed social criticism to create an unsentimental but affectionate portrait of rural life.

The Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.

Middlemarch

George Eliot

The Penguin English Library Edition of Middlemarch by George Eliot

'She did not know then that it was Love who had come to her briefly as in a dream before awaking, with the hues of morning on his wings - that it was Love to whom she was sobbing her farewell as his image was banished by the blameless rigour of irresistible day'

George Eliot's most ambitious novel is a masterly evocation of diverse lives and changing fortunes in a provincial community. Peopling its landscape are Dorothea Brooke, a young idealist whose search for intellectual fulfillment leads her into a disastrous marriage to the pedantic scholar Casaubon; the charming but tactless Dr Lydgate, whose marriage to the spendthrift beauty Rosamund and pioneering medical methods threaten to undermine his career; and the religious hypocrite Bulstrode, hiding scandalous crimes from his past. As their stories interweave, George Eliot creates a richly nuanced and moving drama, hailed by Virginia Woolf as 'one of the few English novels written for adult people'.

The Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.

Daniel Deronda

George Eliot

With an essay by Barbara Hardy.

'What can I do? ... I must get up in the morning and do what every one else does. It is all like a dance set beforehand. I seem to see all that can be - and I am tired and sick of it. And the world is all confusion to me'

George Eliot's last, most controversial novel opens as the spoiled Gwendolen Harleth, poised at a roulette table about to throw away a small fortune, captivates Daniel Deronda. As their lives become intertwined, they are also transformed by suffering, misfortune, revelations and Daniel's fascination with the Jewish singer Mirah. Daniel Deronda shocked Victorian readers with its portrayal of the Jewish experience in British society, and remains a moving and epic portrayal of human passions.

The Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.

The Mill on the Floss

George Eliot

The Penguin English Library Edition of The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot

If life had no love in it, what else was there for Maggie?

Tragic and moving, The Mill on the Floss is a novel of grand passions and tormented lives. As the rebellious Maggie's fiery spirit and imaginative nature bring her into bitter conflict with her narrow provincial family, most painfully with her beloved brother Tom, their fates are played out on an epic scale. George Eliot drew on her own frustrated rural upbringing to create one of the great novels of childhood, and one of literature's most unforgettable heroines.

The Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.

Stop What You’re Doing and Read…Of All Ordinary Human Life: Middlemarch & To The Lighthouse

George Eliot (and others)

To mark the publication of Stop What You're Doing and Read This!, a collection of essays celebrating reading, Vintage Classics are releasing 12 limited edition themed ebook 'bundles', to tempt readers to discover and rediscover great books.

MIDDLEMARCH
Dorothea is bright, beautiful and rebellious and has married the wrong man. Lydgate is the ambitious new doctor in town and has married the wrong woman. Both of them long to make a positive difference in the world. But their stories do not proceed as expected and both they, and the other inhabitants of Middlemarch, must struggle to reconcile themselves to their fates and find their places in the world.
Middlemarch contains all of life: the rich and the poor, the conventional and the radical, literature and science, politics and romance. Eliot's novel is a stunningly compelling insight into the human struggle to find contentment.

TO THE LIGHTHOUSE
The serene and maternal Mrs Ramsay, the tragic yet absurd Mr Ramsay, together with their children and assorted guests, are holidaying on the Isle of Skye. From the seemingly trivial postponement of a visit to a nearby lighthouse Virginia Woolf constructs a remarkable and moving examination of the complex tensions and allegiances of family life, and the conflict between male and female principles.

Middlemarch

George Eliot (and others)

Part of Penguin's beautiful hardback Clothbound Classics series, designed by the award-winning Coralie Bickford-Smith, these delectable and collectible editions are bound in high-quality colourful, tactile cloth with foil stamped into the design.

George Eliot's most ambitious novel is a masterly evocation of diverse lives and changing fortunes in a provincial community. Peopling its landscape are Dorothea Brooke, a young idealist whose search for intellectual fulfillment leads her into a disastrous marriage to the pedantic scholar Casaubon; the charming but tactless Dr Lydgate, whose marriage to the spendthrift beauty Rosamund and pioneering medical methods threaten to undermine his career; and the religious hypocrite Bulstrode, hiding scandalous crimes from his past. As their stories interweave, George Eliot creates a richly nuanced and moving drama, hailed by Virginia Woolf as 'one of the few English novels written for adult people'.

The Mill on the Floss

George Eliot (and others)

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY MARINA LEWYCKA

Maggie and Tom Tulliver are both wilful, passionate children, and their relationship has always been tempestous. As they grow up together on the banks of the River Floss, Tom's self-righteous stubborness and Maggie's emotional intensity increasingly brings them into conflict, particularly when Maggie's beauty sparks some ill-fated attachments. George Eliot's story of a brother and sister bound together by their errors and affections is told with tenderness, energy and a profound understanding of human nature.

Silas Marner

George Eliot

Silas Marner lives a friendless and isolated existence near the country village of Raveloe, hoarding his gold. One night his fortune is stolen and Silas loses everything he holds dear. But then the golden-haired child Eppie appears in his home, and Silas begins to reform bonds of faith and human connectedness that he once renounced forever.

Silly Novels by Lady Novelists

George Eliot

Describing the silliness and 'feminine fatuity' of many popular books by lady novelists, George Eliot perfectly skewers the formulaic yet bestselling works that dominated her time, with their loveably flawed heroines. She also examines the great women writers of France and their enrichment of the culture, and the varying qualities of literary translations.


GREAT IDEAS. Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves - and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives - and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization and helped make us who we are.

Adam Bede

George Eliot (and others)

Carpenter Adam Bede is in love with the beautiful Hetty Sorrel, but unknown to him, he has a rival, in the local squire’s son Arthur Donnithorne. Hetty is soon attracted by Arthur’s seductive charm and they begin to meet in secret. The relationship is to have tragic consequences that reach far beyond the couple themselves, touching not just Adam Bede, but many others, not least, pious Methodist Preacher Dinah Morris. A tale of seduction, betrayal, love and deception, the plot of Adam Bede has the quality of an English folk song. Within the setting of Hayslope, a small, rural community, Eliot brilliantly creates a sense of earthy reality, making the landscape itself as vital a presence in the novel as that of her characters themselves.

Middlemarch

George Eliot

If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life…’

Dorothea is bright, beautiful and rebellious. Lydgate is the ambitious new doctor in town. Both of them long to make a positive difference in the world. But their stories do not proceed as expected and both they, and the other inhabitants of Middlemarch, must struggle to reconcile themselves to their fates and find their places in the world.
Middlemarch contains all of life: the rich and the poor, the conventional and the radical, literature and science, politics and romance, but above all it gives us a vision of what lies within the human heart, the roar on the other side of silence.

Silas Marner

George Eliot (and others)

Wrongly accused of theft and exiled from a religious community many years before, the embittered weaver Silas Marner lives alone in Raveloe, living only for work and his precious hoard of money. But when his money is stolen and an orphaned child finds her way into his house, Silas is given the chance to transform his life. His fate, and that of the little girl he adopts, is entwined with Godfrey Cass, son of the village Squire, who, like Silas, is trapped by his past. Silas Marner, George Eliot's favourite of her novels, combines humour, rich symbolism and pointed social criticism to create an unsentimental but affectionate portrait of rural life.

Daniel Deronda

George Eliot (and others)

As Daniel Deronda opens, Gwendolen Harleth is poised at the roulette-table, prepared to throw away her family fortune. She is observed by Daniel Deronda, a young man groomed in the finest tradition of the English upper-classes. And while Gwendolen loses everything and becomes trapped in an oppressive marriage, Deronda's fortunes take a different turn. After a dramatic encounter with the young Jewish woman Mirah, he becomes involved in a search for her lost family and finds himself drawn into ever-deeper sympathies with Jewish aspirations and identity. 'I meant everything in the book to be related to everything else', wrote George Eliot of her last and most ambitious novel, and in weaving her plot strands together she created a bold and richly textured picture of British society and the Jewish experience within it.

The Mill on the Floss

George Eliot (and others)

Brought up at Dorlcote Mill, Maggie Tulliver worships her brother Tom and is desperate to win the approval of her parents, but her passionate, wayward nature and her fierce intelligence bring her into constant conflict with her family. As she reaches adulthood, the clash between their expectations and her desires is painfully played out as she finds herself torn between her relationships with three very different men: her proud and stubborn brother, a close friend who is also the son of her family's worst enemy, and a charismatic but dangerous suitor. With its poignant portrayal of sibling relationships, The Mill on the Floss is considered George Eliot's most autobiographical novel; it is also one of her most powerful and moving.

Daniel Deronda

George Eliot (and others)

George Eliot’s last novel, published in 1876, weaves together two stories, one about Gwendolen Harleth, the spoilt beauty who marries for money, the other concerning the mysterious hero of the title whose search for his true destiny leads him towards Zionism. All Eliot’s great themes – moral choice, the role of chance, the interaction of characters with their environment – are worked out with her incomparable power, and many readers have agreed with F. R. Leavis that the first section of the novel is the greatest achievement in English fiction.

Scenes of Clerical Life

George Eliot (and others)

George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans) made her fictional debut when SCENES OF CLERICAL LIFE appeared in 'Blackwood's Magazine' in 1857. These stories contain Eliot's earliest studies of what became enduring themes in her great novels: the impact of religious controversy and social change in provincial life, and the power of love to transform the lives of individual men and women. 'Adam Bede' was soon to appear and bring George Eliot fame and fortune. In the meantime the SCENES won acclaim from a discerning readership including Charles Dickens: ' I hope you will excuse my writing to you to express my admiration...The exquisite truth and delicacy, both of the humour and the pathos of those stories, I have never seen the like of.'

Romola

George Eliot (and others)

One of George Eliot's most ambitious and imaginative novels, Romola is set in Renaissance Florence during the turbulent years following the expulsion of the powerful Medici family during which the zealous religious reformer Savonarola rose to control the city. At its heart is Romola, the devoted daughter of a blind scholar, married to the clever but ultimately treacherous Tito whose duplicity in both love and politics threatens to destroy everything she values, and she must break away to find her own path in life. Described by Eliot as 'written with my best blood', the story of Romola's intellectual and spiritual awakening is a compelling portrayal of a Utopian heroine, played out against a turbulent historical backdrop.

Biography

Mary Ann (Marian) Evans was born in 1819 in Warwickshire. She attended schools in Nuneaton and Coventry, coming under the influence of evangelical teachers and clergymen. In 1836 her mother died and Marian became her father's housekeeper, educating herself in her spare time. In 1841 she moved to Coventry, and met Charles and Caroline Bray, local progressive intellectuals. Through them she was commissioned to translate Strauss's Life of Jesus and met the radical publisher John Chapman, who, when he purchased the Westminster Review in 1851, made her his managing editor.

Having lost her Christian faith and thereby alienated her family, she moved to London and met Herbert Spencer (whom she nearly married, only he found her too 'morbidly intellectual') and the versatile man-of-letters George Henry Lewes. Lewes was separated from his wife, but with no possibility of divorce. In 1854 he and Marian decided to live together, and did so until Lewes's death in 1878. It was he who encouraged her to turn from philosophy and journalism to fiction, and during those years, under the name of George Eliot, she wrote Scenes of Clerical Life, Adam Bede, The Mill on the Floss, Silas Marner, Romola, Felix Holt, Middlemarch and Daniel Deronda, as well as numerous essays, articles and reviews.

George Eliot died in 1880, only a few months after marrying J. W. Cross, an old friend and admirer, who became her first biographer. She was buried beside Lewes at Highgate. George Eliot combined a formidable intelligence with imaginative sympathy and acute powers of observation, and became one of the greatest and most influential of English novelists. Her choice of material widened the horizons of the novel and her psychological insights radically influenced the novelist's approach to characterization. Middlemarch, considered by most to be her masterpiece, was said by Virginia Woolf to be 'one of the few English novels written for grown-up people'.