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Silas Marner by George Eliot

Silas Marner (original 1861; edition 1994)

by George Eliot (Author)

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7,574108453 (3.76)474
Title:Silas Marner
Authors:George Eliot (Author)
Info:Harmondsworth : Penguin (1994); Penguin Popular Classics; Paperback
Collections:Your library
Tags:english, novel

Work details

Silas Marner by George Eliot (1861)

  1. 70
    Les Misérables by Victor Hugo (ncgraham)
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  2. 10
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    The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin (TheDivineOomba)
    TheDivineOomba: The Storied Life of AJ Frikry is based off of Silas Marner.
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Before going into a discussion about the book, I wanted to let my readers know that there are several publishing companies that print classic literary works. I think the cheapest would be the Wordsworth Classics. Some classics can also be found on the Gutenburg Press site for free as eBooks. Penguin offers two versions of many classic books (Silas Marner included), with the Penguin Classics version being better for students with a long introduction, index, and word explanations. The Oxford World Classics are also good for studying. I find myself always leaning towards Wordsworth Classics or Penguin Classics personally, but I am not sure that it is really because they are so superior to the other publications. Also, your local libraries are often a trove for classic works. Sometimes they might be a bit dusty or browned, but they are still just as magical as their first day on the shelf.

As far as my readings of George Eliot goes, I find “Silas Marner” to be one of her more accessible works. It is reasonably short, about 220 pages, written in two parts, and has a well-paced story that despite spanning tens of years, does not lose its potency. I find it hard to get people to read George Eliot’s works, because they are often intimidated by the size of her novels. One only has to think of “Daniel Deronda” or “Adam Bede” to feel overwhelmed. But “Silas Marner” is a great novel to demonstrate, rather concisely, Eliot’s main themes, beliefs, and concerns as a writer in the 1800s. She focuses on human relationships above all else and explores rather non-religious conceptions of morals. Her works focus on rural life in England and they often have a timeless quality about them. The opening of “Silas Marner” begins almost as a fairy tale. Raveloe, the main village and place of the novel, is set in a timeless and border-less space. She invites the reader to join her on a journey into this strange rural void and try to make sense of the relationships between the different villagers.

The main character, also the title of the book (which is a common trait of Eliot’s novels), is an outcast who finds his way to Raveloe, where he exists on the peripheries of society as a lone, short-sighted weaver. Without giving too much away about the plot, the book is in many ways a bildungsroman that sees the transformation of Silas Marner as a lone hoarder to a sociable villager who interacts with his neighbours and the community of Raveloe at large.

At the heart of the novel of “Silas Marner” is a man who has been hurt too deeply to ever trust again. He is betrayed by his best friend, cast out by his community, and dropped by his fiance. He hides his heart in his work as a weaver, only making contact with people when he makes a transaction of weaving for gold. Rather than put his trust into something that could hurt or leave him, Silas loves the gold that he collects from his weaving work. He sits with it at night and gazes into the small faces imprinted into the coins and thinks of them as his only family. The coins he is yet to earn, become his unborn children. Yet, he is never corrupted by the money. Unlike Scrooge, Silas’ only fault is that he is too afraid to love again. However, with the help of a twist of fate, Silas is forced to open his eyes and see the world in a different way. Suddenly, human relationships replace his affections for cold gold objects and he slowly learns what it means to be in and of the world.

If you have ever felt betrayed, misunderstood, lost, or unloved, this is a book that will show you that there is always hope where you least expect it. ( )
  bound2books | Feb 12, 2017 |
Silas Marner by George Eliot was originally published in 1861 and I think this book has withstood the march of time remarkably. Silas Marner is a weaver who comes to the village of Raveloe as an outsider never quite fitting in. He spends much of his time alone with his only comfort being the gold that he has saved and now hoards. When his money is stolen he is left anxious and confused. But he rescues an orphan child whose mother perished in a snowbank, and, with the help of the villagers he raises this child with care and love.

Eppie, the child grows into a beautiful young woman but when the local quarry’s water levels go down, a body is revealed and alongside the body is Silas’ gold. This body is that of the local squire’s never-do-well brother who not only stole the gold but was also blackmailing his older brother who had entered into a marriage with a barmaid. The woman who perished in the snowbank was that lower class wife and the squire has known that Eppie is his daughter all this time. When he finally reveals this to his wife and they decide to claim Eppie for their own, they realize that they have left it too late as Eppie will have no parent but Silas.

With his gold restored to him, and Eppie entering into a happy marriage, the book ends with Silas realizing that money is best used to improve life rather to to be hoarded and worshipped. While the squire sadly realizes that he has lost his chance at fatherhood by ignoring his daughter when she needed him. Overall an interesting morality tale that I thoroughly enjoyed. I read this book through installments from Daily Lit and the story certainly held my attention through all 70 segments. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Jan 14, 2017 |
A simple, verging-on-silly allegory of a man wronged and prejudiced against, whose bitter and miserly existence finds salvation when he accidentally mistakes a lost Goldilocks for his stolen golden blocks. Sketchy villains abound but only to serve as foils or aids to Marner's downfall from or rise in community esteem. In fact, they are plucked straight out of the Storybook School of Villainry, where William is the calculating nerd, Dunstan the class clown and self-righteous Godfrey the talented but reluctant, un-self-aware graduate whom nobody suspects. For readers used to Eliot's psychological dissection of characters and realism, it is essential to keep in mind the fable aspect of this book all the way to its countryside-style fairytale ending.

Aside: It's an oddly fitting book to follow my previous read Demons by Dostoevsky, with secret marriages and the idea people's evils are the result of demons entering the body ( )
  kitzyl | Sep 16, 2016 |
So I read this with my nephew for his assigned reading in school. I was actually suprised at how much I enjoyed the book itself and really thought it was quite interesting. I love the stories of the past that can reach out and touch my heart. Definitely worth a re-read in the future. ( )
  Angel.Carter | Aug 11, 2016 |
Classic 1861 novel about a socially outcast weaver who adopts a child, and the country squire's son who keeps her true parentage secret. Like many novels of this time period, it's pretty wordy for the amount of actual story, but it's a pleasant read, with a warm message about what really makes a family. And George Eliot's writing displays a very keen eye for the details of human nature. ( )
  bragan | Aug 5, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (88 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Eliot, Georgeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Allen, Walter ErnestAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bevan, F.E.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cave, TerenceEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Garrigues, Ellen E.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gulick, Edward LeedsEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Herrick, RobertIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leavis, Q.D.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moffett, H. Y.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Montazzoli, PaulIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pitt, David G.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rowe, ClarenceIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"A child, more than all other gifts
That earth can offer to declining man,
Brings hope with it, and forward-looking thoughts,"

~ Wordsworth
First words
In the days when the spinning wheels hummed busily in the farmhouses--and even great ladies, clothed in silk and thread lace, had their toy spinning wheels of polished oak--there might be seen in districts far away among the lanes, or deep in the bosom of the hills, certain pallid undersized men, who, by the side of the brawny country-folk, looked like the remnants of a disinherited race.
Nothing is so good as it seems beforehand.
In old days there were angels who came and took men by the hand and led them away from the city of destruction.  We see no white-winged angels now.  But yet men are led away from threatening destruction: a hand is put into theirs, which leads them forth gently towards a calm and bright land, so that they look no more backward; and the hand may be a little child's.
There were old labourers in the parish of Raveloe who were known to have their savings by them, probably inside their flock-beds.
Perfect love has a breath of poetry which can exalt the relations of the least instructed human beings.
Instead of trying to still his fears, he encouraged them, with that superstitious impression which clings to us all, that if we expect evil very strongly it is the less likely to come;...
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451530624, Mass Market Paperback)

A gentle linen weaver is accused of a heinous crime. Exiling himself, he becomes a recluse, only to find redemption in his love for an abandoned child who mysteriously appears one day in his isolated cottage. Somber yet hopeful, Eliot's stirring tale continues to touch the human spirit.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:00 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

A lonely old man, falsely accused of theft, finds salvation in the love of a young child.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 28 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141439750, 0141389451

Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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