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Daniel Deronda (1876)

by George Eliot

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,097393,014 (3.89)1 / 258
Deronda, a high-minded young man searching for his path in life, finds himself drawn by a series of dramatic encounters into two contrasting worlds: the English country-house life of Gwendolen Harleth, a high-spirited beauty trapped in an oppressive marriage, and the very different lives of a poor Jewish girl, Mirah, and her family. As Deronda uncovers the long-hidden secret of his own parentage, Eliot's moving and suspenseful narrative opens up a world of Jewish experience previously unknown to the Victorian novel.… (more)
  1. 60
    The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James (ncgraham)
    ncgraham: Surprised this recommendation hasn't already been made ... scholars throughout the years have noted Gwendolen Harleth's influence upon James in creating Isabel Archer.
  2. 20
    The Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton (davidcla)
    davidcla: Wharton's 1913 novel is excellent, and very interesting to read as a companion to George Eliot's Daniel Deronda. Wharton's Undine casts Eliot's Gwendolen in a new light. And vice versa.
  3. 00
    Harrington by Maria Edgeworth (nessreader)
  4. 01
    Ulysses by James Joyce (kara.shamy)

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Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
Eliot, George. Daniel Deronda. 1876. Introduction by Earl L. Dachslager. Barnes and Noble Classics, 2005.
There are novelists who, whatever their status as artists, write with their market and their audience always looking over their shoulders. This is true of Dickens, Thackeray, and Trollope, who were all involved in marketing. By the time Eliot wrote Daniel Deronda, her last novel, she must have felt marketing constraints as an easy rein on her work. In Deronda, she concentrates idea and motivation, to the cost of most of the elements of fiction that usually made a Victorian novel sell. Consider action. Most of it is kept discretely offstage. When a major character dies, we are told about it only in second- or third-hand accounts. Her publisher convinced her to rewrite one horse-riding accident, the kind of scene that Trollope would have made a chapter of, to make it a bit more realistic. There is a marriage plot or two, but the treatment is perfunctory. There are two major characters, Daniel and Gwendolyn, who, despite every expectation, are seldom in the same room together. Will their romance blossom or go bust? Their relatives may care, but Eliot does not seem to care. There is some satire aimed at English snobbery, racism, and boorishness, but compared to the satire in Dickens, Thackeray, and Trollope, it is mild indeed. What does interest Eliot, then, is the struggle of her main characters to discover and who they are and what should matter to them. Daniel needs to reconcile his Jewish cultural heritage with his national upbringing. Gwendolyn, who is one of the shallowest, most immature, and self-absorbed heroines ever, must learn what it takes to be an adult with a moral compass. Eliot’s master skill as a novelist is in building scenes that bring these themes together. In short, her characters must make an identity for themselves and find meaning in a world that no longer provides pat answers. That quest is what makes the novel seem almost modern. ( )
  Tom-e | May 17, 2020 |
2 v. ( )
  ME_Dictionary | Mar 19, 2020 |
I have finished this book and am once again confirmed in my opinion that I am not a fan of George Eliot. Gwendolyn drove me batty with her self-absorption and, while I am sure that the feeling that the Meyricks (and Daniel himself at first) evince about Mirah (that if Mirah would just convert everything would be better & that most Jews are horrid vulgar money-grubbers) is an accurate reflection of the times, it felt incredibly patronizing to me.

Even though I didn't really like this book, I am giving it 3* because the writing is wonderful & the fact that despite my dislike, I really did want to find out what happened. ( )
  leslie.98 | Nov 29, 2019 |

I was inspired to get this by reading F.R. Leavis' The Great Tradition, in which Leavis says that half of Daniel Deronda is really good, however it's not the half with Daniel Deronda but the other half, about the novel's heroine Gwendolen. To be honest I disagree. I thought that both stories were pretty good. Gwendolen, like several other George Eliot characters, marries the wrong man for reason that seem to her right at the time (and that the reader can clearly understand) but which are obviously doomed to failure. It's a story told well, but I actually found the Middlemarch version more compelling. (I guess because Dorothea is a nicer person than Gwendolen.) Meanwhile Daniel Deronda finds himself on a quest for his own roots, and ends up as an early Zionist having started the book unaware that he was even Jewish. I found that absolutely fascinating; Zionism in the 1870s was obviously a very different phenomenon from its later permutations. Deronda's awakening does depend on a coulpe of lucky coincidences, but great stories are often told about unlikely events. I'll give a shout out for the three mothers in the books as well - Deronda's mother, who makes a late but spectacular appearance; Gwendolen's mother, who is smarter than her children realise; and Mrs Glasher, the mother of Gwendolen's husband's children, who we see from several different perspectives. (Mrs Glasher is also Irish, though this is stated only once and obliquely.) Both halves of it are a great book, if a long one. ( )
  nwhyte | Jul 14, 2019 |
When I started listening to this book, it probably wasn't the right book at the right time.
I read /listened to some other books before returning to this long one.
And it was worth it in the end. It was a bit elaborate at times, and maybe it could have been many pages shorter, but as the story progressed, I saw it more clearly and enjoyed it. It grew on me as it were.

I'm happy to say, that it had the outcome I thought it eould hsve. That nothing very tragic happened along the way. ( )
  BoekenTrol71 | May 19, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (29 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Eliot, Georgeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brockway, HarryIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cave, TerenceIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hardy, Barbara NathanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jones, CaroleIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
May, NadiaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Was she beautiful or not beautiful? and what was the secret of form or expression which gave the dynamic quality to her glance?
To judge wisely I suppose we must know how things appear to the unwise; that kind of appearance making the larger part of the world’s history.
A nonchalance about sales seems to belong universally to the second-hand book-business. In most other trades you find generous men who are anxious to sell you their wares for your own welfare; but even a Jew ... One is led to believe that a secondhand bookseller may belong to that unhappy class of men who have no belief in the good of what they get their living by.
Emotion was at the acute point, where it is not distinguishable fromsensation.
Day followed day with that want of perceived leisure which belongs to lives where there is no work to mark off intervals.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This work has been published in many different editions of 2, 3, or 4 volumes. Please do not combine individual volumes with the complete work.

Special note on Everyman’s Library editions: Dent originally published the work in 2 volumes, numbers 539 and 540. Subsequently Dent published a new one-volume edition as number 539. Please do not combine the original number 539 with the complete work.
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Average: (3.89)
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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140434275, 0141199245

Urban Romantics

An edition of this book was published by Urban Romantics.

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