Scenes of Clerical Life
George Eliot, Thomas A. Noble
‘the only true knowledge of our fellow-man is that which enables us to feel with him’
George Eliot’s first published work consisted of three short novellas: ‘The Sad Fortunes of the Reverend Amos Barton’, ‘Mr Gilfil’s Love-Story’, and ‘Janet’s Repentance’. Their depiction of the lives of ordinary men and women in a provincial Midlands town initiated a new era of nineteenth-century literary realism. The tales concern rural members of the clergy and the gossip and factions that a small town generates around them. Amos Barton only realizes how much he depends upon his wife’s selfless love when she dies prematurely; Mr Gilfil’s devotion to a girl who loves another is only fleetingly rewarded; and Janet Dempster suffers years of domestic abuse before the influence of an Evangelical minister turns her life around.
These stories are remarkable for the tenderness with which Eliot portrays a bygone time of religious belief in a newly secular age, giving literary fiction an alternative language to religion and philosophy for the observation and understanding of human experience.
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It's a little late for me to review a book that has been a prized classic of English literature for over a hundred years, so I'll confine my comments to the package - there are various editions of this book available, but given the choice I would opt for an Oxford World's Classic edition any day - the clarity of the typeface and the quality of the paper are superb, and the cover artwork is stunning. Brilliant new editions of two of George Eliot's timeless classics. * Books Monthly * These gripping stories depict the lives - gossip, rivalry, spats, loves and religious controversies - of ordinary 1800s people living in a provincial, God-fearing Midlands town. The unsolved everyday problems and confusions swirl and fascinate - much as they swirl and fascinate today. * Val Hennessy, Daily Mail *
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