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The Ordeal of Richard Feverel (Penguin Classics) (original 1859; edition 1999)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140434836, Paperback)"Of all nineteenth-century English novels, " claims Edward Mendelson in his Introduction to this edition, "The Ordeal of Richard Feverel is the most self-consciously literary in its style and structure and the most sexually explicit in its plot and theme." First published in 1859, Meredith's first and most controversial novel concerns Sir Austin Feverel's misconceived attempts to educate his son Richard according to a system of his own devising -- a system based on theories of sexual restraint. Exploring generational and gender conflicts, the psychology of sexual jealousy and repression, and myths of Eden and Utopia, The Ordeal of Richard Feverel shocked Victorian readers but gained for itself a cult following. "Now that it has been freed from its reputation, " writes Mendelson, "readers can discover again the tragic and ironic force, and the psychological and formal complexity that make The Ordeal of Richard Feverel one of the most profound, subtle, and moving works of English fiction."
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:23:52 -0400)
For its time, The Ordeal of Richard Feverel (1859) had a sexual frankness about adultery, illegitimacy, and seduction that had a disastrous effect on Meredith's reputation as a novelist for many years. Meredith defied Victorian convention and expectations in his three-part story of Richard Feverel's childhood, adolescence, and manhood. Abandoned by his mother, who leaves to be with her lover, Richard's father must raise the boy himself and does so according to his own strict "System," based on Science and Reason. Richard eventually rebels and marries a woman whose social class his father disapproves of. Final reconciliation comes at a high price for both father and son.
(summary from another edition)
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