Scenes of Clerical Life
'Many men write well and tell a story well, but few possess the art of giving individuality to their characters so happily and easily as you …'
Wrote the publisher John Blackwood in February 1857 to a shy and ambitious new author, whom he had not yet met, George Eliot. Shielded by this pseudonymn, Mary Ann Evans made her fictional début when Scenes of Clerical Life appeared in Blackwood's Magazine the same year. These are Eliot's earliest studies of what became enduring themes: the impact of religious controversy and social change in provincial life, and the power of love to transform the lives of individual men and women. In 'The Sad Fortunes of the Rev. Amos Barton', Amos learns only after her death the value of Milly's selfless love; 'Mr Gilfil's Love Story' tells of a clergyman's life-long devotion to the memory of Caterina, destroyed by her passion for another lover; in 'Janet's Repentance', the life of the alchoholic Janet Dempster is decisively changed by the attractiveness of Rev. Tryan, an evangelical preacher.
Adam Bede was soon to appear and bring George Eliot great fame and fortune. In the meantime the Scenes won acclaim from a discerning readership including Charles Dickens: 'I hope you will excuse my writing to you to express my admiration … The exquisite truth and delicacy, both of the humour and the pathos of those stories, I have never seen the like of.'
What people are saying - Write a review
Review: Scenes of Clerical LifeUser Review - Alicia - Goodreads
I wouldn't have stuck with this if it weren't for the author. Because I love George Eliot's later books, I figured these 3 short stories would be worth reading even if they started out slow and ended ... Read full review
Review: Scenes of Clerical LifeUser Review - Denise DeRocher - Goodreads
Delightful vignettes of life in late eighteenth century rural England. Over two hundred years later, Eliot still provokes feeling and visual clarity that crosses generations and countries. The woman was a magical writer. Read full review