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Felix Holt, the Radical by George Eliot

Felix Holt, the Radical (1866)

by George Eliot

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Felix Holt is a surprising triumph for Eliot. For the first time, she engages fully with some of the deeper socio-political issues of her day and age. The plot is almost Dickensian in the amount of intrigue, scandal, and romance, which is a good thing for the sometimes achingly slow Eliot. Despite the (comparatively) racing plot, it is the emotional and psychological moments of the novel that are the strongest. Lady Transome is the best character I've read from Eliot yet. Felix Holt gets passed over due to its political and legal nuances that don't translate well to today's audience, but it also matters more in a social sense than many of her other works do. ( )
4 vote avilas | May 15, 2012 |
This novel about class conflict in an English county town at the time of the Great Reform Act had some quirky and quite interesting characters. It also had a few great moments of speeches about political reform and class prejudice. However, these were quite few and far between and in essence it was a standard slow-moving 19th century novel about property and inheritance issues. Finished it, but it dragged a bit in the middle. ( )
  john257hopper | Jun 15, 2011 |
The first book I have finished in 2011 is a classic written by the estimable George Eliot, whose novel Middlemarch I fell completely in love with. I found Felix Holt to be an inferior work, but still entertaining and quite gripping toward the end of the book. The Transome estate is in neglect when we first enter the scene, and the stately lady of the house is eagerly awaiting the arrival of her second-born son who has recently become the inheritor of everything. Lady Transome has many high hopes for this, her favourite child, and is in a state of eager anticipation when he arrives. Thus the story starts briefly with hope, but delves quickly into a twisted labyrinth of secrets and politics, immorality and goodness, love and hatred. We meet Esther and her father Mr. Lyon, a Radical minister, Mr. Jermyn who is a lawyer and has managed Transome in lieu of a mentally incapacitated Lord and his gambling eldest son, and the man the book is named after, Felix Holt who is of high moral character and, even more impressive, practices what he preaches.

Felix Holt was slow to get into and slow to introduce characters, but once all that was out of the way it developed into a lovely little morality tale complete with romance and politics. I give it seven bookmarks out of ten.

http://toomanybooknotenoughtime.blogspot.com/2011/01/felix-holt-radical.html ( )
  carmelitasita29 | Jan 7, 2011 |
2319 Felix Holt, by George Eliot (read 25 Aug 1990) This is laid in the England of 1832 and 1833, and purports to be a political novel. Harold Transome runs as a Liberal in the first election after passage of the Reform Bill. A riot on election day results in Felix Holt's conviction for manslaughter, but he is pardoned and marries Esther Lyon, who gives up her inheritance of the Transome lands--leaving Harold, who is the son of the evil character in the book. The plot is involved and far-fetched, but it had its moments and was not too bad a book. ( )
1 vote Schmerguls | May 29, 2008 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
George Eliotprimary authorall editionscalculated
Hughes, KathrynIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thorold, DinnyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Five-and-thirty years ago the glory had not yet departed from the old coach-roads: the great roadside inns were still brilliant with well-polished tankards, the smiling glances of pretty barmaids, and the repartees of jocose ostlers; the hedge-cutter or the rick-thatcher might still know the exact hour by the unfailing yet otherwise meteoric apparition of the pea-green Tally-ho or the yellow Independent; and elderly gentlemen in pony-chaises, quartering nervously to make way for the rolling swinging swiftness, had not ceased to remark that times were finely changed since they used to see the pack-horses and hear the tinkling of their bells on the this very highway. (Introduction)
On the 1st of September, in the memorable year 1832, some one was expected at Transome Court.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140434356, Paperback)

When the young nobleman Harold Transome returns to England from the colonies with a self-made fortune, he scandalizes the town of Treby Magna with his decision to stand for Parliament as a Radical. But, after the idealistic Felix Holt also returns to the town, the difference between Harold's opportunistic values and Holt's profound beliefs becomes apparent. Forthright, brusque and driven by a firm desire to educate the working-class, Felix is at first viewed with suspicion by many, including the elegant but vain Esther Lyon, the daughter of the local clergyman. As she discovers, however, his blunt words conceal both passion and deep integrity. Soon the romantic and over-refined Esther finds herself overwhelmed by a heart-wrenching decision: whether to choose the wealthy Transome as a husband, or the impoverished but honest Felix Holt.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:36 -0400)

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'Felix Holt' is the vivid portrayal of political ferment and corrupt electioneering in a small Midland borough at the time of the Reform Bill of 1832.

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