Paperback ä Daniel Deronda MOBI æ

A beautiful young woman stands poised over the gambling tables in an expensive hotel She is aware of and resents the gaze of an unusual young man a stranger who seems to judge her and find her wanting The encounter will change her lifeThe strange young man is Daniel Deronda brought up with his own origins shrouded in mystery searching for a compelling outlet for his singular talents and remarkable capacity for empathy Deronda's destiny will change the lives of many


10 thoughts on “Daniel Deronda

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    Recently I watched a TV adaptation of Andrea Levy's Small Island a book I had read when it first came out but which I'd or less forgotten The adaptation succeeded very well and might even have been better than the book The characters were credible and their motivations were clear Their words and actions filled the viewer in so well on the background to the story that the occasional narratorial voiceover seemed unnecessary Soon afterwards I watched the first episode of a three part adaptation of Daniel Deronda and had the opposite reaction Nothing made sense to me I was convinced that a large part of Eliot's intentions for the story were missing and while the actors were all fine in their way the words they were given to say were simply not enough I tried to fill in the missing bits myself but couldn't It was impossible to imagine the history and motivations that lay behind those characters and their actions as impossible as trying to imagine the layers of messages underlying the movie title Three Billboards outside Ebbing Missouri until you've viewed that extraordinary film for yourself—which I've just done If there had been a book on which that film was based I'm certain that it could never measure up to the movie Every frame was a billboard in itself and the message on each was astonishingly spare and incredibly eloquentGeorge Eliot is very eloquent but there is nothing spare about her writing You cannot pare it down and fit it in movie frames yet it is very visual in spite of that It belongs on the page—but offers the big screen experience to the mind's eye But you have to read all the words to see the pictures properly I was very glad I abandoned the TV adaptation after that first episode and picked up the book instead Right from the first page I realised that without the support of the text I could never have succeeded in fully understanding the complexities of motivation that lay behind the surface story or indeed the scope of Eliot's project in the first place And when I reached the end of the book I was certain that I didn't need to watch the rest of the TV adaptation—the book had been vivid for me that any adaptation could be I posted an update the day I finished the book regretting that the reading experience was over and a curious conversation erupted in the comments section of that update The conversation made me realise that there are readers who tackle books as if their task were to adapt them for the screen rather than simply read what is on the page They would like to cut massive sections delete certain characters and make other characters act differently so that the story might move towards an ending they think is fitting You could say that such an approach is a very 'creative' way of reading but you could also wonder where the writer's intentions for her work fit in that scenario The writer's intentions are everything for me I may probe them and question them but I would never disregard them A writer's work is a sacred thing a bit like other people's religious beliefs not to be tampered with even when we don't revere them ourselves I mention religion because it is a major theme in this book George Eliot became and interested in Judaism during the course of her life at first in an effort to overcome her own prejudices towards the increasing Jewish population in mid nineteenth century Britain and then later because she had become genuinely interested in the common origin of Judaism and Christianity This book is essentially about that preoccupation but because Eliot is very good at creating story lines she has inserted the Jewish themed story into an intriguing frame story Readers seem to differ about which story is the worthwhile part of the book and many favour the frame story However I found that the two strands overlapped and echoed each other so well that I never even thought of separating or comparing them Characters from both sections mirrored each other even if they seemed completely opposite and the central redeemer like figure of Daniel Deronda linked them all together perfectly The overall shape of the book worked very well for me and I'm left in awe of George Eliot's mind as well as her writing The result of this unplanned reading adventure is that Daniel Deronda now marks the beginning of my 2018 George Eliot season I'm looking forward to reading the rest of her books and I may possibly reread Middlemarch as a fitting endnote So much for the to read stack I selected at the beginning of January Abandoned indefinitely Because I've a keen interest in Henry James and I know he admired George Eliot's writing I was interested to spot what might have been the germ of his inspiration for The Portrait of a Lady Eliot's frame story concerns a fiercely independent minded young woman who in spite of the general expectation is in no hurry to marry anyone Nevertheless like HJ's Isabel Archer Gwendolyn Harleth finds herself enslaved by a cold hearted husband who is only interested in crushing her independent spirit It seems to me that Henleigh Grandcourt and HJ's Gilbert Osmond have a lot in commonEliot's main story also reminded me of another Henry James plot line I think Daniel Deronda could have been an inspiration for Hyacinth Robinson in Princess Casamassima They are both orphans who desperately need to discover about their parents and they both become deeply involved in movements they had no previous associations with Slim connections perhaps but I love finding such links