[Read Reading] Adam BedeAuthor George Eliot – Freepe.co

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 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 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 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. 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. 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 objective moment, with 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 annoying mothers in fiction To be fair, Lisbeth Bede has 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, over, 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 Donnithornebas les aristosand 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. 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. 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 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. 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 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 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 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 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 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, 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 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. Adam Bede, The First Novel Written By George Eliot The Pen Name Of Mary Ann Evans , Was Published In 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 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 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 interesting than enjoyable, and the pacing, especially at the ending, wasn t quite right for me Nonetheless, I m looking forward to reading George Eliot in future. 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 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 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 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 famous work.