Synopses & Reviews
"And I would not, even if I had a choice, be the clever novelist who could create a world so much better than this, in which we get up early in the morning to do our daily work."
In Adam Bede (1859) George Eliot took the well-worn tale of a lovely dairy-maid seduced by a careless squire, and out of it created a wonderfully innovative and sympathetic portrait of the lives of ordinary Midlands working people their labours and loves, their beliefs, their talk.
Hugely popular in its own time, Adam Bede is one of the greatest examples of humane and liberal Victorian social concern, a pioneering classic of radical social realism. It is also important for the way it meditates on the need for such fiction and the methods or writing it.
This edition reprints the original broadsheet reports of the murder case that was a starting-point for the book, and the notes illuminate Eliot's many literary and religious references.
"Adam Bede has taken its place among the actual experiences and endurances of my life." Charles Dickens
is remarkable, not less for the unaffected Saxon style which upholds the graceful fabric of the narrative, and for the naturalness of its scenes and characters, so that the reader at once feels happy and at home among them, than for the general perception of those universal springs of action which control all society, the patient unfolding of those traits of humanity with which commonplace writers get out of temper and rudely dispense. The place and the people are of the simplest, and the language is of the simplest; and what happens from day to day, and from year to year, in the period of the action, might happen in any little village where the sun shines." Unknown Author, The Atlantic Monthly
(read the entire Atlantic Monthly review
In Adam Bede (1859) George Eliot took the well-worn tale of a lovely dairy-maid seduced by a careless squire, and out if it created a wonderfully innovative and sympathetic portrait of the lives of ordinary Midlands working people their labors and loves, their beliefs, their talk. This edition reprints the original broadsheet reports of the murder case that was a starting point for the book, and detailed notes illuminate Eliot's many literary and Biblical allusions.
Hailed for its sympathetic and accurate rendering of nineteenth-century English pastoral life, Adam Bede was George Eliot's first full-length novel and a bestseller from the moment of publication. Eliot herself called it "a country story full of the breath of cows and scent of hay." Adam Bede
is an earnest and virtuous carpenter who is betrayed by his love, Hetty Sorrel, a pretty yet foolish dairymaid who is seduced by a careless young villager. The bitter, tragic consequences of her actions shake the very foundations of their serene rural community.
While Adam Bede represents a timeless story of seduction and betrayal, it is also a deeper, impassioned meditation on the irrevocable consequences of human actions and on moral growth and redemption through suffering.