Adam Bede

Adam Bede

Book - 1996
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A remarkably vivid depiction of village life provides the backdrop to George Eliot's first novel, a story of  love and betrayal invested with social realism of unprecedented sensitivity.    

Adam Bede is an upstanding young carpenter whose greatest weakness is his infatuation with the self-absorbed village beauty, Hetty Sorrel. Hetty has secretly set her sights on Captain Arthur Donnithorne, heir to the local squire's estate; his abandonment of her and her engagement to Adam set in motion a tragedy that will touch many people's lives. When Hetty lands in prison, accused of murder and facing a sentence of execution by hanging, it is her fervent young cousin Dinah Morris, a Methodist preacher, whose intervention offers both Hetty and Adam comfort and the hope of peace.

The evocations of a lost rural world for which Adam Bede was so resoundingly praised on its publication in 1859 are charged in Eliot's hands with a personal compassion that intensifies the novel's outer dramas of seduction and betrayal and inner dramas of moral growth and redemption.

 With an introduction by Leonee Ormond

Publisher: New York : Knopf ; Toronto : Random House of Canada, 1996, c1992
ISBN: 9780679409915
Branch Call Number: FIC ELI
Characteristics: xxxiii, 612 p. ; 22 cm

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Janice21383
Apr 08, 2017

The title is Adam Bede, but it should be Hetty Sorrel, the shallow but fascinating character who draws both the other characters and the reader to her. It would be easy to dismiss George Eliot's harsh portrayal of this 17-year-old working class girl as the jealousy of a plain woman towards a pretty one, though there is something to that. But in the 19th century, this story would have been difficult or impossible to get published if Hetty had not been held somewhat to blame for her own fate. Eliot went so far as to set her story in an earlier time; perish the thought that her contemporaries would seduce peasant girls or that illegitimacy was a fact of rural life. However, there are real life Hettys, both then and now, and their stories are seldom simple black and white. The difference is that the fate of a modern Hetty is usually much less brutal, and we should be grateful for it. For those who may find this book long, you can skip early chapters about Adam's workshop, and his brother, and skim Dinah's preaching -- they're mostly irrelevant to the rest of the story.

k
kamilla1
Aug 15, 2011

The style of Eliot and other Victorian writers, including Dickens, was such that they sometimes appear to be going off in tangents. This was very much in the style of the period, when the novel was viewed as having a didactic purpose.

renabackstrom Dec 03, 2010

This is a fascinating story though somewhat slow. I found it distracting that Eliot often goes off on tangents.

You can tell that Eliot was not a fiction writer to begin with.

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