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Adam Bede (Phoenix Classics)

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Adam Bede, the first novel written by George Eliot (the pen name of Mary Ann Evans), was published in 1859. It was published pseudonymously, even though Evans was a well-published and highly respected scholar of her time.The story's plot follows four characters' rural lives in the fictional community of Hayslope—a rural, pastoral and close-knit community in 1799. The novel Adam Bede, the first novel written by George Eliot (the pen name of Mary Ann Evans), was published in 1859. It was published pseudonymously, even though Evans was a well-published and highly respected scholar of her time.The story's plot follows four characters' rural lives in the fictional community of Hayslope—a rural, pastoral and close-knit community in 1799. The novel revolves around a love triangle between beautiful but self-absorbed Hetty Sorrel, Captain Arthur Donnithorne, the young squire who seduces her, Adam Bede, her unacknowledged suitor, and Dinah Morris, Hetty's cousin, a fervent, virtuous and beautiful Methodist lay preacher.


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Adam Bede, the first novel written by George Eliot (the pen name of Mary Ann Evans), was published in 1859. It was published pseudonymously, even though Evans was a well-published and highly respected scholar of her time.The story's plot follows four characters' rural lives in the fictional community of Hayslope—a rural, pastoral and close-knit community in 1799. The novel Adam Bede, the first novel written by George Eliot (the pen name of Mary Ann Evans), was published in 1859. It was published pseudonymously, even though Evans was a well-published and highly respected scholar of her time.The story's plot follows four characters' rural lives in the fictional community of Hayslope—a rural, pastoral and close-knit community in 1799. The novel revolves around a love triangle between beautiful but self-absorbed Hetty Sorrel, Captain Arthur Donnithorne, the young squire who seduces her, Adam Bede, her unacknowledged suitor, and Dinah Morris, Hetty's cousin, a fervent, virtuous and beautiful Methodist lay preacher.

30 review for Adam Bede (Phoenix Classics)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Fionnuala

    Reader, I ask you, what can be better than a long book full of good sentences? That was a rhetorical question, of course - I think there is nothing better than good sentences following one on another, and this book is full of them. But Adam Bede also offers that extra ingredient readers generally can't resist: intrigue. The intrigue is centered on the curious nature of the rules of attraction, which is no surprise of course as variations on the classic love triangle often feature in George Eliot' Reader, I ask you, what can be better than a long book full of good sentences? That was a rhetorical question, of course - I think there is nothing better than good sentences following one on another, and this book is full of them. But Adam Bede also offers that extra ingredient readers generally can't resist: intrigue. The intrigue is centered on the curious nature of the rules of attraction, which is no surprise of course as variations on the classic love triangle often feature in George Eliot's books. However in Adam Bede, the rules of attraction seem to stretch well beyond the usual three-sided figure. Instead we have a far more complicated situation: SB loves DM who loves AB who loves HS who loves AD. *……*……*……*……* Five isolated points. There seems to be no way to bring them together, no way to build them into a useful shape, such as a house, for example. And yet Adam Bede, who is at the centre of the problematic, is a carpenter who is very good at calculating distances and angles and the correct weight of roof timbers. Come on, Adam, we say encouragingly, build that house! Make it happen. Meanwhile, our mental business is carried on much in the same way as the business of the State: a great deal of hard work is done by agents who are not acknowledged. In a piece of machinery, too, I believe there is often a small unnoticeable wheel which has a great deal to do with the motion of the large obvious ones...the human soul is a very complex thing. A little mental business, a little adjustment of wheels and cogs, and not forgetting some small heart-related 'agents' their owners hardly know exist, has to be carried out by several of the characters before Adam's house can be built. It is a very interesting process to watch. The human heart is a very complex thing indeed.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jan-Maat

    So. This is an old story and terribly familiar(view spoiler)[Tess of the d'urbervilles is a variant of the same story (hide spoiler)] , I'm not sure if it is wise to say anything about the plot, perhaps the plot is incidental, it certainly can't be separated from its setting. This was the first time I have read this novel, it was almost a year ago that I readThe Mill on the Floss and it was so long ago that I read Middlemarch that perhaps it is almost as though I had never read it. However in comm So. This is an old story and terribly familiar(view spoiler)[Tess of the d'urbervilles is a variant of the same story (hide spoiler)] , I'm not sure if it is wise to say anything about the plot, perhaps the plot is incidental, it certainly can't be separated from its setting. This was the first time I have read this novel, it was almost a year ago that I readThe Mill on the Floss and it was so long ago that I read Middlemarch that perhaps it is almost as though I had never read it. However in common with those books Eliot also sets this one in the recent past and one wonders what it was about the recent past that made it an essential component of the story she wanted to tell, or to put it another way why might she have felt that the same story might not have worked if set the fifty or so years later when it was written. Communication is a part of it, I imagine as the reader has to believe in the naivete of a seventeen year old girl, presumable Eliot suspected her readers would find it impossible to imagine a seventeen year old girl being ignorant of the consequences of dalliance with an older man and how nature leads to unnatural crimes. This leads to the other feature of the book that I noticed. This is a very religious unreligious book. It is not even a crisis of faith book. Rather it seems to me that by the end Eliot is asserting herself as High Priestess, or Lady Pope, or the true Prophet of No God. If for her there is no God there is still value in some religious practises, in the place of void created by the removal of church and doctrines she puts an intense serious regard for people's spiritual lives, for our emotions, for compassion, for the depths of understanding required to live with each other when the well springs of our feelings may be obscure yea even unto ourselves. Repent, she cries, for the day of the Lord is not on hand. A stand out moment I thought the secular communion - "Take a bit, and another sup, Adam, for the love of me. See, I must stop and eat a morsel. Now you take some." Nerved by an active resolution, Adam took a morsel of bread, and drank some wine(p431) so speaks our Night school teacher to Adam, teacher and Adam both taking on a new significance as does that the regular Anglican clergyman Mr Irwine serves also as a Magistrate Judge not, that ye be not judged and all that after all. This is a book written after Strauss's The Life Of Jesus Critically Examined which was first translated into English by none other than George Eliot. The sense here is that Christ stopped at Eboli (at any rate somewhere far short of England) despite the moral seriousness of the Methodists the inner life of the country is governed by convention and not by Christian conviction, if the hearts of people are never in Church there is still some chance of true communion between individuals, but this is hard to achieve. Eliot shows us people continually not just mis-read each other, but also themselves(view spoiler)[ particularly when it comes to questions of love (hide spoiler)] , her interest in sociology sides seamlessly into her psychology. She does in places tell rather than show but given her air of benign wisdom (view spoiler)[ I fear I am at risk her of failing into the Blackadder sketch (hide spoiler)] and occasional humour, particularly in the utterances of Mrs Poyser, I find that completely forgiveable. This edition I don't particularly recommend, it has one of those introductions designed for students on literature courses who prefer to complain about how boring their set texts are than to actually read them, the text is pretty well skewered and dissected and examined without suggesting to an idle passing soul that they might actual want or like to read it(view spoiler)[ a guy I knew had great luck along those lines with Our mutual Friend he could not in two years move himself to read more than the first chapter and on exam day, turning over the question paper, there was a question about the first chapter, he had a talent like a cat for falling on his feet (hide spoiler)] . Also I note with thankfulness that I was not born or brought up in the East Midlands, it must be exhausting to have to think in that dialect all the time. Her in story comment on one of her own characters serves to sum up her own style:"It's quite easy t'read - she writes wonderful for a woman" (p.327) (view spoiler)[ p.440 contrasting deaths, contrasting victories Nelson- inheritance (hide spoiler)]

  3. 4 out of 5

    Barry Pierce

    The fact that George Eliot called this novel Adam Bede and not Hetty Sorrel proves that there is no justice in this world. The novel itself, Eliot’s first, is a fairly quaint pastoral romance. Everyone’s in love with the wrong person. You get the picture. The plot doesn’t really wear the novel’s weight well. It just about breaches 600 pages and there is absolutely no need - no need. It’s a pity that Adam Bede is such a meh tale, considering that for the novel Eliot invented a character as complex The fact that George Eliot called this novel Adam Bede and not Hetty Sorrel proves that there is no justice in this world. The novel itself, Eliot’s first, is a fairly quaint pastoral romance. Everyone’s in love with the wrong person. You get the picture. The plot doesn’t really wear the novel’s weight well. It just about breaches 600 pages and there is absolutely no need - no need. It’s a pity that Adam Bede is such a meh tale, considering that for the novel Eliot invented a character as complex and as loveable and as utterly tragic as Hetty Sorrel. I adored Hetty, and judging by most of the other reviews on here, everyone else did as well. Her story is just so completely harrowing, which is impressive, as most characters from Victorian literature really just go through it. I have to admit that at points I really became fed up with this novel, only for everything to pick up again when Hetty comes along. But I’m also not going to recommend a 600 page long minor Victorian novel just because one character is good. So I guess that’s that.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Issicratea

    Adam Bede (1859) was George Eliot’s first novel, preceded only by her short fiction collection, Scenes of Clerical Life. The novel was recognized as a masterpiece from the start. The Times review stated that “the author takes rank among the masters of the craft” and describes “him” as possessing “genius of the highest order.” Elizabeth Gaskell, with North and South already behind her, mournfully noted in a letter that “I have a feeling that it is not worth while trying to write when there are su Adam Bede (1859) was George Eliot’s first novel, preceded only by her short fiction collection, Scenes of Clerical Life. The novel was recognized as a masterpiece from the start. The Times review stated that “the author takes rank among the masters of the craft” and describes “him” as possessing “genius of the highest order.” Elizabeth Gaskell, with North and South already behind her, mournfully noted in a letter that “I have a feeling that it is not worth while trying to write when there are such books as Adam Bede.” When I read Adam Bede for the first time, I was just coming out of a life trauma (though nothing quite as bad as the horrible event around which the plot turns, fortunately). The novel blew me away with the accuracy of its insights into shock and suffering and their psychological effects. It was an immensely therapeutic read. It was interesting to revisit this novel at a calmer and more objective moment, with more of a literary-critical eye. I loved it just as much as I did the first time round, though for rather different reasons. I read it almost back-to-back with Eliot’s later Felix Holt: The Radical, and it was fun to line the two up against one another. There are several similarities. The male protagonist of both is an intelligent, partly self-educated, working-class man—although Felix Holt has chosen the career of a craftsman, rather than having it visited on him by birth—and both are the dutiful sons to two of the more annoying mothers in fiction. (To be fair, Lisbeth Bede has more by way of redeeming tragic dignity than Mrs Holt, but it would still be something of a toss-up as to which you would least want to be trapped in a lift with.) More seriously, Adam Bede is as brilliant and socially nuanced and vivid a portrayal of a rural Midland village in 1799 as Felix Holt is of an election-fevered rural Midland small town in 1832. Eliot knew of what she spoke; she had grown up in precisely the kind of rural society she wrote of here; and her fascinating short memoir of the origins of Adam Bede (included as an appendix to the World’s Classics edition I used) identifies her father, Robert Evans, an upwardly mobile former carpenter turned estate manager, as one of the inspirations for her title character. As ever with Eliot, in addition to the personal plot of the novel—here, unlike in Felix Holt, stark and simple as a Greek tragedy—a larger social and quietly political narrative is at work. One reason why the village setting works so well is that it can serve as a microcosm of English society generally, in its class and religious distinctions. We are never quite allowed to forget, moreover, that the novel takes place a decade after the most convulsive political event of the century, the French Revolution. This is an intensely class-conscious novel, as much so as Felix Holt, in its way. The cast list of Adam Bede is vast and supremely well marshalled. In addition to Adam and his family, the principal characters in the novel include the dashing, vain young squire, Arthur Donnithorpe; the worldly, and worldly-wise, vicar, Mr Irvine and his queenly, spirited old mother; a comfortably-off farm couple, the Poysers; and their two orphaned nieces, the vain and pretty Hetty Sorrel and the charismatic and godly Dinah Morris. Beyond these, we also get a wider chorus, made up the Poysers’ assorted servants and farm-hands; the grander servants of the “big house;” assorted village ne’er-do-wells; the crotchety schoolmaster Bartle Massey; Adam’s colleagues in the carpenter shop. Eliot assembles the entire village masterfully in the great set-piece of Arthur’s twenty-first birthday party, which takes place immediately before the novel’s crisis, with doom hanging heavily in the air. This element of Fate and foreshadowing is again reminiscent of Greek tragedy; and I don’t think this is coincidental. Eliot read Sophocles’s Oedipus Rex shortly before beginning work on Adam Bede; and she makes Mr Irvine, in the novel, a reader of Sophocles and Aeschylus. One great triumph of Adam Bede is its combination of the emotional power and universality of tragedy with the intricate, historically precise, socially embedded realism of the mature Victorian novel. I could continue ad infinitum. I can’t begin to do justice to the excellencies of this novel. I haven’t even mentioned the fascination of Eliot’s portrayal of Dinah Morris, the young Methodist lay preacher, caught at a moment early in the Methodist movement when women did preach in some numbers (an epilogue takes us down beyond 1803, when a ruling limited them to preaching solely to their own sex.) The characterization is superb in general: aside from Dinah, I loved, in different ways, Adam; Arthur; Hetty; Mr Irvine; Martin Poyser; and Seth Bede, Adam’s brother. And you get a lot of Eliot’s trademark humanistic moral wisdom and sympathy. Her treatment of Arthur is exemplary in that regard; she doesn’t back-pedal on his vanity and the appalling damage that he wreaks on all around him, yet she doesn’t allow us—or even, ultimately, Adam—the easy option of condemning him without taking a good look at ourselves. There are even some laughs in Adam Bede, in defiance of Eliot’s reputation for high moral seriousness. She took a while to creep up on me, but, by the end, I was relishing the outrageous barbs of the sharp-tongued super-housewife Mrs Poyser, especially when she turned them against the tyrannical Squire Donnithorne (à bas les aristos!) and the misogynist Bartle Massey. I particularly admired the way Eliot encapsulated her character in her physical tic of walking round knitting constantly “with fierce rapidity, as if that movement were a necessary function, like the twittering of a crab’s antennae.”

  5. 4 out of 5

    Beccie

    I believe this may be the most beautiful book I have ever read. I felt both uplifted and emotionally drained when I finished. The tragedy and the great beauty of George Eliot's writing! I didn't read this edition, mine was much older, but the introduction of my edition quoted Charles Dickens as saying that reading Adam Bede was an epoch in his life, and Alexandre Dumas called it the masterpiece of the century. I'm happy to agree with them. Most people say that Middlemarch is George Eliot's maste I believe this may be the most beautiful book I have ever read. I felt both uplifted and emotionally drained when I finished. The tragedy and the great beauty of George Eliot's writing! I didn't read this edition, mine was much older, but the introduction of my edition quoted Charles Dickens as saying that reading Adam Bede was an epoch in his life, and Alexandre Dumas called it the masterpiece of the century. I'm happy to agree with them. Most people say that Middlemarch is George Eliot's masterpiece. That was tragic and beautiful as well, but I was so much more drawn into the characters of Adam Bede. I loved them all (even Hetty) because even though they may have made bad choices, we were allowed to see things from their perspective and gain an understanding of why they did what they did. I love that about George Eliot. Dickens' characters sometimes seem almost like caricatures because they are either so good or so evil. I appreciate the humanity of Eliot. In fact, I understood Arthur Donnithorne all too well. He so wants to be a good person and have people think well of him, and yet he is weak when it really matters. This is a silly analogy, but I decided to make chocolate chip cookies one day while reading Adam Bede. I knew I really shouldn't because I would eat too many and not be able to stop, but when it came to the point I made them anyway and ate too many. I realized how like Arthur that was! He knew he shouldn't be doing what he was doing, and he talked himself out of it many times, but when it came to the point he still did it. It's interesting that although George Eliot personally seemed to have issues with the religion of her day, she can talk about religion so beautifully in her books. (I realize I have used the word "beautiful" way too many times, but oh if you read it, you will understand.) The year the story takes place is 1799, but the year it was published was (I believe) 1856. There was a lot of religious fervor going on at that time. People were searching and wanting to do what was right, and were dissatisfied with the nation's religion, even though there were many good and wonderful members of the clergy. Who could not love Mr. Irwine? And yet Dinah believed in so much more. I had ancestors in England around that time period who I believe felt the same way, and that's why they were so open to hear of the restoration of the gospel from the Mormon missionaries who were sent there. Mrs. Poyser was an absolute gem! I loved that she was able to tell off the Squire and hold her own with the woman-hating Mr. Massey (I wanted to tell him off, too - I wish we could have heard why he hated women so much.). I was grateful that George Eliot put in an epilogue so we could see what happened to the characters who were missing at the end of the book. This is an amazing book - everyone should read it.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

    Because I was rereading David Copperfield during some of the time I was reading this, I couldn’t help but compare the characters (and situations) of one book to the other: for example, the extremes between the adorable Dora/Hetty and the angelic Agnes/Dinah. And though I know Eliot had reservations about Dickens’ works, I see how she extends -- into realism -- a character like David Copperfield’s Emily. Also interesting to me is that an arguably sensational theme of Adam Bede is an important the Because I was rereading David Copperfield during some of the time I was reading this, I couldn’t help but compare the characters (and situations) of one book to the other: for example, the extremes between the adorable Dora/Hetty and the angelic Agnes/Dinah. And though I know Eliot had reservations about Dickens’ works, I see how she extends -- into realism -- a character like David Copperfield’s Emily. Also interesting to me is that an arguably sensational theme of Adam Bede is an important theme of the Norwegian Knut Hamsun’s Growth of the Soil, another book I was reading concurrently. If I'd read this as a young teenager, my sympathies would've been with a minor character, the younger brother Seth. As it is, I still have some of those residual feelings toward him, helped by my agreeing with his comment on the last page, which is opposed to the more traditional view of his brother, the eponymous hero. The latter has left me with a vaguely irritated feeling, though nothing he said beforehand bothered me. With this statement of his, though, Eliot is following history; and her biggest strength in this, her first full-length novel, is that of social historian.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Skylar Burris

    Adam Bede is a story about love, self-deception, religious feeling, innocence, and experience. It would not be an unfit introduction to Eliot, though Middlemarch is by far her superior novel. I am awed by Eliot's psychological insight into human personality. Her characters are some of the most vivid in all of literary history, and her ability to penetrate to the very heart of human motivation is unrivaled. She presents her story with wit and subtle sarcasm. (Take, for instance, this tongue-in-ch Adam Bede is a story about love, self-deception, religious feeling, innocence, and experience. It would not be an unfit introduction to Eliot, though Middlemarch is by far her superior novel. I am awed by Eliot's psychological insight into human personality. Her characters are some of the most vivid in all of literary history, and her ability to penetrate to the very heart of human motivation is unrivaled. She presents her story with wit and subtle sarcasm. (Take, for instance, this tongue-in-cheek comment: "Of course, I know that, as a rule, sensible men fall in love with the most sensible women of their acquaintance, see through all the pretty deceits of coquettish beauty, never imagine themselves loved when they are not loved, cease loving on all proper occasions, and marry the woman most fitted for them in every respect. . . . But even to this rule an exception will occur now and then in the lapse of centuries, and my friend Adam was one.") Eliot's command of English is deeply impressive, and this book is worth reading just for the beauty of the language. But the story is quite interesting as well, and you will come to care about and sympathize with the characters. It is not a fast paced book, and it will require an investment of time and intellect. But it is well worth reading.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    George Eliot’s masterpiece is Middlemarch, but Adam Bede has always been my favorite Eliot novel. I’m not sure why this is. It might be because Bede was the first Eliot book I read. I doubt this, however, because the first Austen book I read was Pride and Prejudice, but my favorite Austen book is Persuasion. I understand why Middlemarch is a masterpiece, yet I find myself agreeing with Dumas pere in considering Bede to be the “masterpiece of the century”. I first read Bede after watching the firs George Eliot’s masterpiece is Middlemarch, but Adam Bede has always been my favorite Eliot novel. I’m not sure why this is. It might be because Bede was the first Eliot book I read. I doubt this, however, because the first Austen book I read was Pride and Prejudice, but my favorite Austen book is Persuasion. I understand why Middlemarch is a masterpiece, yet I find myself agreeing with Dumas pere in considering Bede to be the “masterpiece of the century”. I first read Bede after watching the first part of a Masterpiece Theatre (remember when Cooke hosted it?) showing of the story. I only saw the first part and it ended with the fight between Adam and Arthur, where Adam knocks Arthur done and thinks he has killed the squire to be. I had to know what happened next so I went out and brought the book. Since then I have read Bede far more than I have read Middlemarch, though I have never tracked down and brought the Masterpiece version of the story. There is a beauty and simplicity about Bede and yet it is a complex and deep story. It almost seems like a paradox, but it is not. I find myself wondering how this book was received in general when it was first published. Like Scott’s Heart of the Midlothian, this work concerns a woman, a young girl, who embarks on an ill advised affair and finds herself pregnant. And yet, Eliot’s use of this plot is far superior to Scott, even to someone like me who considers Heart to be one of Scott’s best works, if not his best work. It is the use of this plot in Bede that make the book a masterpiece. It must be due to the fact that Eliot is a woman and knows far more about how much farmer’s niece would in fact know about her cycle. She makes very good use of the word dread. It’s true that the title character is the central character. He is not a saint, he is not perfection; he is good people, perhaps a finer version of Othello. One feels for him, and he does have faults. His blind love of Hetty, and his quickness of temper. Dinah, too, as a few faults, and this stops her from being a total unlikable Mary Sue. The reader knows what is best for these two characters long before they do. In many ways, however, the kennel of the story concerns Hetty and Arthur, and far more of Hetty. It is interesting for the narrator always points out Hetty’s faults to the reader. Hetty doesn’t seem like a particular nice or attractive person, especially when compared to Dinah. The narrator is right in pointing out that Hetty’s looks cause people to forgive and over look her other faults. Despite Hetty’s petty ways and her inability to tender feeling, both the narrator and the reader feel sympathy for her. I hesitate to say like. I don’t know even now if I like Hetty, but I feel sorry for her. Hetty does something stupid, but she plays a high price. Even before the modern era, with our debates or discussions about single mothers and how (or whether) to make fathers responsible, Eliot touches on it. Constrained by the time she lived in, Eliot cannot give it the graphic blow by blow that would be used today. This restraint, however, makes the story are the more tragic and touching. Even in the darkness of the tale, Eliot arranges to show the reader a degree of pity. Hetty might feel alone due to the shame, her family might cast her off, but she is not truly alone. At least not wholly. There are helpful strangers and Dinah. Of course, the reader still knows that Hetty is not in a good place, that society has by and large cast her off and has made no true provision for her. Eliot does not fall into the trap that other authors, such as Hardy, have. We know that the relationship between Arthur and Hetty is consensual. Further, Arthur is treated far more gently than Alec in Tess. Perhaps this simplifies matters or cheapens the story as some critics have pointed out, but I don’t think it does. Arthur is close in age to Hetty, 21 to her 17. Older, more educated, but still young enough to make mistakes. It should also be noted that both lovers are in essence orphans. Because Arthur repents, because he suffers somewhat, he becomes likable. He can’t fully save Hetty, but he does not fully abandon her when he realizes what has happened. If anything, the book can be seen as a non flattering comment on society’s rigid rules, despite the fact that Eliot does not make Hetty and Arthur spotless lambs. Hetty is less likable, but far more real than say Hardy’s Tess. The story of Arthur and Hetty shows how much and how little society has changed. The lovers are not the only winning feature of this novel. There are wonderful descriptions and beautiful comments about people. The seeds of Middlemarch are here. There is a wonderful chapter about what makes a good clergyman and how things should be portrayed in literature. Beautiful and thought provoking lines, like “We are kinder to the brutes that love us than to the women that love us. Is it because the brutes are dumb?” The reader is given a picture of time and place that passes before the eyes, much like a movie.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    It would be a poor result of all our anguish and our wrestling if we won nothing but our old selves at the end of it—if we could return to the same blind loves, the same self-confident blame, the same light thoughts of human suffering, the same frivolous gossip over blighted human lives, the same feeble sense of that Unknown towards which we have sent forth irrepressible cries in our loneliness. Adam Bede, George Eliot's first novel and second published work, is just as brilliant a novel as the It would be a poor result of all our anguish and our wrestling if we won nothing but our old selves at the end of it—if we could return to the same blind loves, the same self-confident blame, the same light thoughts of human suffering, the same frivolous gossip over blighted human lives, the same feeble sense of that Unknown towards which we have sent forth irrepressible cries in our loneliness. Adam Bede, George Eliot's first novel and second published work, is just as brilliant a novel as the revered Middlemarch, even if it's a little less polished. This is really the story of Hetty Sorrel, even if she's neglected once her arc meets its cinematic conclusion. Frankly, Adam is the most boring character of the lot; Hetty, Dinah Morris, Seth Bede, the Poysers, Arthur Donnithorne–all are infinitely more nuanced and intriguing than the stick-in-the-mud Adam. Hetty is what we would call, in 2015, "vapid"—a simple country girl who dreams of fine things, leisure, and a rich man. However, if that's all you take from Hetty's story, you're sorely missing out. Eliot masterfully builds and builds and builds until all of the blocks come tumbling down, and the town of Hayslope is left to pick up the pieces. The first half is rather short on plot, but I would not have been half as invested in the fallout had I not the fruit of Eliot's laborious rendering of time and place. At first reading, the plotline of Adam Bede seems hopelessly archaic. But really, there's nothing archaic about Hetty's longings, her regrets, her shame, her utter hopelessness; women suffer as Hetty did like clockwork, all around the world; some are blinded enough by fear to make the same unfortunate choices, while others have the luxury of never being forced to reach the crossroads that she did. Hetty is so human, so full of flaws, so desperately self-interested—it's almost as if Eliot is daring us not to be altruistic in our judgment of her. Eliot's prose is less refined, and the novel is rather more descriptive than her trademark intuition: It was a still afternoon—the golden light was lingering languidly among the upper boughs, only glancing down here and there on the purple pathway and its edge of faintly sprinkled moss: an afternoon in which destiny disguises her cold awful face behind a hazy radiant veil, encloses us in warm downy wings, and poisons us with violet-scented breath. But it's there, and it comes with a force just as full, claws out: In bed our yesterdays are too oppressive: if a man can only get up, though it be but to whistle or to smoke, he has a present which offers some resistance to the past—sensations which assert themselves against tyrannous memories. This is a novel that really, really deserves a reader's care and patience. And maybe the ending is contrived and a bit awkward. But, as I stated before, the star of the show is Hetty Sorrel. I don't know if it's that Adam Bede sold more copies than Hetty Sorrel would have, or that readers demand a "likable" protagonist, or if it was just that Adam was the embodiment of an ideal. Whatever the reason may be, Hetty Sorrel is my Emma Woodhouse, and Adam Bede is my Emma—not in that it in any way resembles a romantic comedy, but in that it stars an unlikely heroine in a novel overshadowed by the author's more famous work.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Katie Lumsden

    Possibly 3.5. I found the premise and some aspects of the book fascinating, and the second half very gripping - but as I often find with George Eliot, I found it more interesting than enjoyable, and the pacing, especially at the ending, wasn't quite right for me. Nonetheless, I'm looking forward to reading more George Eliot in future.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    Adam Bede is a polished and delicately painted debut novel . George Eliot published Silas Marner and the Mill on the Floss in each of the next two years. How amazing! Adam Bede predates Hardy's Tess of D' Ubervilles by over 30 years and honestly, I found Eliot's novel more suspenseful and brutal. The setting, 1798, bucolic England peopled with dozens of individuals from every walk of life. At first this town is like the Garden of Eden with meaningful employment for everyone. Adam, of course, is Adam Bede is a polished and delicately painted debut novel . George Eliot published Silas Marner and the Mill on the Floss in each of the next two years. How amazing! Adam Bede predates Hardy's Tess of D' Ubervilles by over 30 years and honestly, I found Eliot's novel more suspenseful and brutal. The setting, 1798, bucolic England peopled with dozens of individuals from every walk of life. At first this town is like the Garden of Eden with meaningful employment for everyone. Adam, of course, is the best example of a man: smart, loyal,strong, generous, and of course interested in the prettiest, shallowest, and vainest girl in town. Orphans and single parents abound in this novel. Church is central to this town, though only a few are Methodists (today's Fundamentalists). Adam's mother and Hetty's aunt, surrogate mother, get the prize for dialogue. Adam, his brother Seth and Hetty's uncle are the nicest men in literature without being cloying. Arthur, the young squire is a "good"snake in the grass. He doesn't mean to harm anyone, just to enjoy himself, and rationalize his play to be fair and harmless. Hetty (Hester Sorrel) is so pretty, so young, so self involved, that you know she will tempt Adam, but you don't know how it will end. Hetty's cousin, Dinah, is the one downer for me. She's the rebel. She flaunts society by becoming a Methodist preacher who practices what she preaches. She works endlessly, caring for everyone else. She appears to be flailing herself by doing good deeds. I'm sure that the wrong metaphor, but read this wonderful novel and express it better. I skipped her preachiness and marveled at the other rounder characters and the descriptions of rural life. I also was stung by the quick retributions and punishments to be doled out by simple Christians. It reminds me of the Tea Party today. I really liked this.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    I took my time with this book. First, it was to enjoy Eliot's near-cinematic writing style in the beginning of the novel as she laid out the world and characters of "Adam Bede". Then, I read slowly to slow down the arrival of the inevitable fall from paradise. But Eliot handled it beautifully complete with cliffhangers that saw me, at one dramatic chapter, drop the book, throw my arm over my eyes and gasp for breath. You'll know where when you read it. Please do, Adam Bede's world seems bucolic I took my time with this book. First, it was to enjoy Eliot's near-cinematic writing style in the beginning of the novel as she laid out the world and characters of "Adam Bede". Then, I read slowly to slow down the arrival of the inevitable fall from paradise. But Eliot handled it beautifully complete with cliffhangers that saw me, at one dramatic chapter, drop the book, throw my arm over my eyes and gasp for breath. You'll know where when you read it. Please do, Adam Bede's world seems bucolic but passions lie right underneath and people struggle to do the right thing and sometimes fail just like they do now. This is a simpler, more direct tale than "Middlemarch" so if you've never quite made it through that epic and want to read Eliot, try "Adam Bede" instead.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Duane

    Adam Bede is similar to Tess of the D'Uberville's in it's basic premise; an innocent and unspecting maiden falls prey to the desires of a wealthy aristocrat thwarting the love and good intentions of a proud and honorble hero. Of course Adam Bede was written 32 years prior to Tess. Adam Bede is one of my favorite's of the great classic novels.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

    I'm a lifelong George Eliot fan, so it's strange that I just never got to Adam Bede before now. I suppose I was afraid it would fall short of Eliot's masterpieces, Middlemarch and Daniel Deronda, or even Mill on the Floss and Silas Marner. Adam Bede is in fact an "early" book; one senses Eliot working toward her greatest powers. The pacing can be a bit slow at times; Eliot juggles fewer narrative threads than she does later in her career; and there is a slight sensationalism in the focus on the I'm a lifelong George Eliot fan, so it's strange that I just never got to Adam Bede before now. I suppose I was afraid it would fall short of Eliot's masterpieces, Middlemarch and Daniel Deronda, or even Mill on the Floss and Silas Marner. Adam Bede is in fact an "early" book; one senses Eliot working toward her greatest powers. The pacing can be a bit slow at times; Eliot juggles fewer narrative threads than she does later in her career; and there is a slight sensationalism in the focus on the story of a fallen women. Nevertheless, what a delight! There is all the usual beauty of Eliot's penetrating psychology, her compassion, her humor. Of all the novels of hers that I've read, this one conveys the strongest sense of English rural life, its rootedness in the weather and crops and the human fashioning of everything from coffins to butter. Adam and Hetty and the Rev. Irvine and Arthur are great and true characters.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Myla

    I loved this book! It was just a mellow fun story to read nothing riviting me to my seat and then all of a sudden I was dying! I have never in my life been completely torn; I couldn't stop reading because I had to know what would happen at the same time I had to stop reading because I was afraid to see what would happen. Never in my life have I seriously considered flipping to the back of the book to see how it ends, and I am not a spoiler of plots. Not to be cliche but I laughed and cried and.. I loved this book! It was just a mellow fun story to read nothing riviting me to my seat and then all of a sudden I was dying! I have never in my life been completely torn; I couldn't stop reading because I had to know what would happen at the same time I had to stop reading because I was afraid to see what would happen. Never in my life have I seriously considered flipping to the back of the book to see how it ends, and I am not a spoiler of plots. Not to be cliche but I laughed and cried and...just loved it. George Eliot's writing was so complete when it came to the character development that I knew each character...completely. The insight that she has of human emotions and personality complexities was amazing. She hit the nail on the head. Adam Bede now joins the ranks with Jane Eyre and others as one of my all time favorite books.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kj

    100% engaging. This is one of those books that you feel more human for having read. What the plot may lack in scope, the writing makes up for tenfold with tender and true insights into pain, hope, vanity and prosaic life. It's a true, true, true book, that beats with an honest heart. You get to love the narrator in the very fact that the narrator is open about her love for the characters. this book is a treasure, in all its homely ruggedness and sometimes shocking, but inevitable events. It's not 100% engaging. This is one of those books that you feel more human for having read. What the plot may lack in scope, the writing makes up for tenfold with tender and true insights into pain, hope, vanity and prosaic life. It's a true, true, true book, that beats with an honest heart. You get to love the narrator in the very fact that the narrator is open about her love for the characters. this book is a treasure, in all its homely ruggedness and sometimes shocking, but inevitable events. It's not so much the story, but how it is told. full of hearty truths and simple thinking. Smart and substantive. Dang, I just liked it so much!!!!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. When people say, "It's not you; it's me," it lacks sincerity. However, I'm very sincere when I say that it took me so long to read this book because of me, not because of any faults within the book itself. I've been busy, and I've been reading Robin Hobb's addictive The Tawny Man trilogy, et cetera, et cetera. Excuses aside, this book is well worth the read and can be read in much less time than I took to read it. This is the second book I've read by George Eliot, and she's quickly become one of When people say, "It's not you; it's me," it lacks sincerity. However, I'm very sincere when I say that it took me so long to read this book because of me, not because of any faults within the book itself. I've been busy, and I've been reading Robin Hobb's addictive The Tawny Man trilogy, et cetera, et cetera. Excuses aside, this book is well worth the read and can be read in much less time than I took to read it. This is the second book I've read by George Eliot, and she's quickly become one of my favorite authors, evidenced by the fact that both of the books I've read by her now sit on my "favorites" shelf on GR. This book could have been shorter than it was, but it doesn't bother me like it does in other books because Eliot used the extra pages to fully introduce us to her characters, so when events happen to them, we care. As the description of the book on GR says, Eliot took a common plot line and turned it into something special because of her characters. I feel connected to Adam, Dinah, Arthur, Bartle Massey, Mr. Irwine, and the Poysers...even Hetty and Arthur. They come to life because Eliot took the time, not only to outline them, but to draw them in. I also enjoyed the story. Once the main event occurs, the story moves very quickly and carries the reader along, so she can find out how the story unfolds and what the events will lead to for the characters. There was one thing that I didn't want to happen but that's hinted at early on, and that's for Adam and Dinah to end up together. The reason I didn't want this to happen is that Seth, Adam's younger brother, loves Dinah. I didn't want Seth to have to live with his older brother, who's already stronger, taller, better looking, and more loved by their mother, marrying the woman he loved first. But, of course, that's what happens. Adam marries Dinah, but I can't even be mad at Eliot about it because Adam and Dinah are so cute. Their love develops in a believable way, and their declarations to each other are so sweet. Besides, Adam speaks to Seth about it before he even tells Dinah how he feels, making him an even better character than he already is. Adam is a great character. He has faults, but they make him more realistic. He's smart but simple, firm but loving. It's obvious that Eliot loves her character, and it's obvious why. I also enjoyed that Eliot wrote about a time probably fifty years or so before her time. It's easy to identify with the narrator when she talks about how times were simpler then, how things have changed so much since, how people are less connected to nature and over-complicate everything from religion to farming. It's also an apt setting since Methodists allowed and encouraged female preachers up until just about the beginning of the 19th century, and Eliot was writing during a time when she had to create a male pseudonym just to be taken seriously as a writer. I value her decision to set the story in the prior century when women were respected by the developers of a new Christian sect and were encouraged to preach outdoors, outside the confines of what society expected and demanded of women. I love that Dinah is a strong female character who knows herself very well but is also a strong Christian woman because, you know, women can be strong, independent, confident, and deeply Christian. I could say a lot more about this book. Eliot definitely idealizes a lost past, but how can we blame her? I find people now doing it all the time because of the changes our technology and "advancements" have made to American society. For a book written over 100 years ago (!), Adam Bede is surprisingly easy to relate to. Also, Eliot's psychological astuteness astounds me. She does analyze feelings, thoughts, and actions more than a contemporary writer would, but I enjoyed her analysis because it's so modern. I identify with many of Eliot's observations and explanations of human nature and motivations. Well, this has been another long review. Essentially, I really enjoyed this book as I enjoyed Silas Marner, and I will miss these characters and their stories. It's a book I recommend and wouldn't mind coming back to one day!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Carly

    It may be heresy (why is it always heresy to dislike a "classic" when a book's status as a classic mainly stems from its age?), but I'm not particularly fond of George Eliot. Granted, I read her books when I was rather younger, but I found her tone too moralistic and prescriptive, and the political overtones too strident. Adam Bede is perhaps one of my least favourite of the books of hers that I have read. We have our overly prim, proper, and holier-than-thou protagonists, Adam Bede and Dinah Mo It may be heresy (why is it always heresy to dislike a "classic" when a book's status as a classic mainly stems from its age?), but I'm not particularly fond of George Eliot. Granted, I read her books when I was rather younger, but I found her tone too moralistic and prescriptive, and the political overtones too strident. Adam Bede is perhaps one of my least favourite of the books of hers that I have read. We have our overly prim, proper, and holier-than-thou protagonists, Adam Bede and Dinah Morris, to teach us the proper path. Apparently the "right way" is, at the tender age of twenty, to go around preaching to everyone and providing moral guidance for those lesser beings from one's own tremendous heights of experience. The "right way" is to be uptight and silent, to enjoy nothing, and to purposefully inflict suffering upon oneself to mimic the humiliation Jesus endured. (Oh, and to be Methodist. Although Dinah is called alternately Quaker and Methodist--I really don't understand how these beliefs were confused. Were they more similar back in the day, or did Eliot simply conflate the two Welsh belief systems?) We also have our standard moral exemplars, the characters who behave badly and are duly punished. Interestingly, in this book it becomes clear that bad behaviour includes vanity, self-satisfaction, selfishness, infanticide(how dare women step outside the role of wife and mother?), and, most importantly, stepping outside one's social station. Jane Austen, most notably in Emma, also preaches the virtues of rigid social classes and the evils of interclass fraternization, but I can't help but feel that Eliot is far more dogmatic and obvious in shoving the message down her readers' throats. Unlike Austen, Eliot also demonizes the upper class as frivolous and amoral. In terms of tone, Eliot uses the same wealth of description and narrative commentary favoured by other writers of the period, including Dickens and Hugo. It's not particularly my favorite. She has a few sly barbs, but every one I caught is stated much more cleverly by the inimitable Austen. Overall, I found it a lugubrious and preachy read.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dov Zeller

    I wrote a pretty long review comparing Eliot's Bede to Summer by Wharton, so if you want to see that, check out my Summer review. The books have a lot of similarities but also they are very different. Summer is much shorter, and focused on the female protagonist. Bede is long and Adam Bede is the central character, though we do get some chapters with the narration focused on Hetty Sorrel. One thing I loved in Bede is the relationships between parents and guardians and their children...Bede has an I wrote a pretty long review comparing Eliot's Bede to Summer by Wharton, so if you want to see that, check out my Summer review. The books have a lot of similarities but also they are very different. Summer is much shorter, and focused on the female protagonist. Bede is long and Adam Bede is the central character, though we do get some chapters with the narration focused on Hetty Sorrel. One thing I loved in Bede is the relationships between parents and guardians and their children...Bede has an over-bearing mother who doesn't want him to find romantic love because she is jealous. That is, until she mellows out a bit by the end of the book (and is brought to her senses somewhat by Dinah.) Hetty lives with her aunt and uncle and we get to see their parenting styles and also their relationship with Dinah, who is also a niece I think, and very independent, but does spend time with them. There is also a lot of interesting stuff in here about christianity and methodism in particular. And it has in it a female Methodist preacher, which is pretty fascinating. Characters in this novel are symbolic, but layered. Just about everyone in this novel has faults, but few of the characters are defined, at least not entirely, by their finer qualities or their mistakes. In that sense, Eliot interestingly finds a balance between caricature and complexity. Not that the book is never heavy handed, but it is most heavy handed in its call for moderation, I think. The characters who survive are characters that can be a little flexible in their ideas and behavior. Eliot's skills as a storyteller are evident in this book, but she pushes the plot a bit too long and a bit too far for my taste and I was dubious by the end. But, there is much to be explored here, so I do recommend it.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mattia Ravasi

    Though not especially fast nor overly thrilling, Adam Bede is a beautiful insight into a crucial moment in British history - and into the human condition in general - all inserted in the frame of a beautiful, surprisingly entertaining story. Video-review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rR3-K...

  21. 5 out of 5

    Karl H.

    Reading George Eliot’s Adam Bede, I found myself reminded of Norman Rockwell paintings, with their impeccable technique and saccharine kitschy everyday subjects of the not so distant past. Like a Norman Rockwell of the 19th century, Eliot smiles at most of her subjects and makes us long to return to the good old days, even if she pokes a bit of sly fun at their expense from time to time. But nostalgia is not a lens through which we see clearly, and this Norman Rockwell portrait of a community mi Reading George Eliot’s Adam Bede, I found myself reminded of Norman Rockwell paintings, with their impeccable technique and saccharine kitschy everyday subjects of the not so distant past. Like a Norman Rockwell of the 19th century, Eliot smiles at most of her subjects and makes us long to return to the good old days, even if she pokes a bit of sly fun at their expense from time to time. But nostalgia is not a lens through which we see clearly, and this Norman Rockwell portrait of a community mixes uneasily with a tone which seems judgmental and harsh. The greatest strength of ‘Adam Bede’ are the characters living in the town of Hayslope. There are only a few characters in this town who are not true to life and sharply observed. Lisbeth is the perfect portrait of a mother who fawns over one son and is perpetually complaining. Mrs. Poyser is a wonderful wit and hard worker who manages her husband, her dairy and her children with a sharp tongue, quick eye and heart of gold. The hapless Seth Bede is a scatterbrained but well-intentioned and kind-hearted man. The only boring character, unfortunately, is Adam himself. Strong in arm, generous in deed, noble in reason, and infinite in faculty, he’s the best carpenter since Jesus. Not a chapter goes by where we’re not tediously reminded that he’s a “good man.” Fortunately there are vast swaths of the book where he is not directly involved, and he does become slightly more interesting by the end. Such a portrait of life makes Hayslope seem like a paradise. It’s true that there are some problems in Hayslope: Adam’s father is an alcoholic, and the landlord is a jerk. But any community where a sermon can be delivered about the evils of wearing earrings clearly doesn’t have a lot of problems on its plate. Into this veritable Garden of Eden steps Hetty Sorrell, the beautiful stupid peasant girl. If Adam Bede has a villain, Hetty is it. Just as our feelings about Adam are clearly meant to be positive, Hetty winds up bearing the brunt of the narrator’s scorn. What’s not so clear is how she earned it. She’s vain, she’s stupid, and she’s materialistic. Admittedly these are character flaws. But the amount of judgmental scorn heaped on her immediately seems so excessive in measure with her deeds. Hetty’s real sin seems to be that she wants out. She doesn’t want to be the poor pretty girl working the dairy, or the steadfast carpenter’s wife. She wants something better for herself- and how else is she going to get it besides marrying up? The narrator claims to feel sorry for her, but to me this seems the same sort of ‘pity’ you see on the TV when a televangelist says he’s sorry those sodomites are going to hell. I feel quite sorry for Hetty and did not appreciate the narrator belittling her as a childlike idiot at every turn. It’s hard to talk much about the plot of the novel without giving too much away, because as I said before, not a lot happens and what does happen seems a bit melodramatic. George Eliot has a nasty habit of starting her novels with about two hundred pages of tedium. In Middlemarch, this is excusable, as the novel is about nine hundred pages, so things have time to get interesting. But ‘Adam Bede’ is only about four hundred pages and this is a problem. There are about one hundred pages of interest before we start getting to the ending, which I particularly disliked. It tries too hard to please and seems contrived and unsatisfactory. Despite the beauty of Eliot’s writing and the sharpness of her characterization, I can’t recommend Adam Bede. Even interesting characters need something to do besides stand around talking about the weather, and just too much of this book is unsatisfactory to garner a good rating. Middlemarch was much less judgmental, and all the better for it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Bacon

    Lengthy At some points this story drug on and I found myself losing interest. Then an interesting thing happened with a not so likable character and the story kinda took off. Hetty, I am not a fan. I think a lot of this story could have been left out because I didn't see the point, but it was overall enjoyable.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Spencer

    Absolutely loved this novel. I am certain I will read this again and again throughout my lifetime. The first three hundred pages (pre-Hetty's travails) were perfect; I was disappointed when the wonderfully center-less scope narrowed its focus on the events of Hetty's escape. This novel really raised the bar for me w/r/t character development: even the most minor (and superficially unlikeable) of characters has an interior world as expansive and dynamic as any galaxy, full of prejudices, doubts, pr Absolutely loved this novel. I am certain I will read this again and again throughout my lifetime. The first three hundred pages (pre-Hetty's travails) were perfect; I was disappointed when the wonderfully center-less scope narrowed its focus on the events of Hetty's escape. This novel really raised the bar for me w/r/t character development: even the most minor (and superficially unlikeable) of characters has an interior world as expansive and dynamic as any galaxy, full of prejudices, doubts, predilections, and self-delusions, all feeding and concealing each other. George Eliot presides over them all as a caring and incisive defense counsel for the lowest of characters. In anyone else's hands Bartle Massey, Hetty Sorrel, and Arthur Donnithorne could have been annoying or even reprehensible, but I loved and excused them as one does any family member he's forced to represent to the judgment of the outside world. I can see some readers disliking how heavily the narrative voice relies on authorial aside and aphorism, but when the insights are this astute, I don't mind. Many may also find the story slow moving, hokey, and or non-existent, but I loved the setting and characters so much (how it reminded me of Iowa) I totally didn't care.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sara Jesus

    Foi um livro que se prolongou em demasia. A leveniadade de Heytte, o seu crime e a sua punição não me cativou. Mas Dianh é uma personagem. Devota a Deus mas ao mesmo tempo livre. Que só no fim premite render-se ao amot. Já Adam apenas conquistou-me no fim. É um homem demasiado sério

  25. 4 out of 5

    Simona Bartolotta

    3.5 I think I have read somewhere Dinah Morris is also known as That Irksome Character...

  26. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

    3.5* for the book; 4* for the Wanda McCadden narration of the audiobook edition I liked the historical setting (~1799-1800) and felt that the characters were believable & not too preachy (even Dinah, the Methodist preacher, wasn't overly preachy).

  27. 4 out of 5

    Nafise

    Third try to read this and my best record is page 17. I haven't read enough to judge. But I' m done with it anyway :/

  28. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth (Alaska)

    This starts very slowly. Even at 200 pages in I thought “My anticipation of the pleasure of reading this far out strips my actual pleasure of reading this.” For me, this may have been due in part to the large amount of religious talk and paragraphs of actual prayer. I’m sure this was thought quite normal and acceptable at the time of publication – and perhaps by many readers today – but it is not the sort of writing I embrace. In addition, Eliot thought it necessary to write the speech of her pe This starts very slowly. Even at 200 pages in I thought “My anticipation of the pleasure of reading this far out strips my actual pleasure of reading this.” For me, this may have been due in part to the large amount of religious talk and paragraphs of actual prayer. I’m sure this was thought quite normal and acceptable at the time of publication – and perhaps by many readers today – but it is not the sort of writing I embrace. In addition, Eliot thought it necessary to write the speech of her peasant characters in dialect, some of whom had quite a strong dialect, though many others not as much. ”Nay, my lad, my lad, thee wouldstna go away an’ break thy mother’s heart, an’ leave thy feyther to ruin. Thee wouldstna ha’ ‘em carry me to th’ churchyard, an’ thee not to follow me. I shanna rest i’ my grave if I donna see thee at th’ last; an’ how’s they to let thee know as I’m a-dyin, if thee’t gone a-workin’ i’ distant parts, an’ Seth belike gone arter thee, and thy feyther not able to hold a pen for’s hand shakin, besides not knowin’ where thee art? The mun firgie thy feyther – thee munna be so bitter again’ him. He war a good feyther to thee afore he took to th’ drink. …”Finally, though, her story overcame these obstacles, a story which I quite enjoyed. Unrequited love, shame, pride (perhaps false), honor are all a part of this. One woman cast in a supporting role had a sharp tongue, which at first irritated me, but then simply provided humor. ”You’re might fond o’ Craig, but for my part, I think he’s welly like a cock as thinks the sun’s rose o’ purpose to hear him crow.” “I allays said I’d never marry a man as had got no brains; for where’s the use of a woman having brains of her own if she’s tackled to a geck as everbody’s a-laughing at? She might as well dress herself fine to sit back’ards on a donkey.” I won’t quit Eliot, but for the rural setting, I think I prefer Hardy. In spite of my objections to this one, it’s a solid 4 stars.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Bam

    #2015 Reading Challenge--Week 15: A popular author's first book. This is truly one of the best books I've ever read. Granted it is not an easy read, being filled with local dialect and dense, complicated sentence structure, but it is SO worth the reader's time and effort. Eliot develops the scene and characters slowly in the first 300 pages, transporting the reader to the English countryside of 1799 where some of the most fully-fleshed characters of English literature come to life. It is in the #2015 Reading Challenge--Week 15: A popular author's first book. This is truly one of the best books I've ever read. Granted it is not an easy read, being filled with local dialect and dense, complicated sentence structure, but it is SO worth the reader's time and effort. Eliot develops the scene and characters slowly in the first 300 pages, transporting the reader to the English countryside of 1799 where some of the most fully-fleshed characters of English literature come to life. It is in the second half of the novel that events that were set in motion by the actions and decisions of these characters pick up speed and begin to race towards their inevitable conclusion. "Men's lives are as thoroughly blended with each other as the air they breathe: evil spreads as necessarily as disease." Lush setting, farm/family life, friendship, romance, betrayal, deceit, murder, court trial--this first novel by Eliot has it all. Highly recommend!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    This is the story of Adam Bede, a carpenter who lives in the countryside and falls in love with Hetty Sorrel, a maid who lives with the Poysers, uncle and aunt of Adam. In reality, the plot involves the love story among the four main characters: Adam, Hetty Sorrel, Arthur Donnithorne, a young squire who seduces Hetty, and Dinah Morris, Hetty's cousin and an itinerant Methodist preacher. After have been seduced by Arthur, Hetty's life become a turmoil of tragic events. The first movie based on this This is the story of Adam Bede, a carpenter who lives in the countryside and falls in love with Hetty Sorrel, a maid who lives with the Poysers, uncle and aunt of Adam. In reality, the plot involves the love story among the four main characters: Adam, Hetty Sorrel, Arthur Donnithorne, a young squire who seduces Hetty, and Dinah Morris, Hetty's cousin and an itinerant Methodist preacher. After have been seduced by Arthur, Hetty's life become a turmoil of tragic events. The first movie based on this story was made in 1918. In 1992, BBC produced a television version of this famous work by George Eliot.

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