Scenes of Clerical Life

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Penguin, 1998 - Fiction - 369 pages
4 Reviews
George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans) made her fictional debut when SCENES OF CLERICAL LIFE appeared in 'Blackwood's Magazine' in 1857. These stories contain Eliot's earliest studies of what became enduring themes in her great novels: 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. 'Adam Bede' was soon to appear and bring George Eliot 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.'
 

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User Review  - pgchuis - LibraryThing

I found these novellas each quite different. "Amos Barton", the first and shortest was probably my favourite. Everyone in it was resolutely ordinary and nothing really remarkable happened, but it felt ... Read full review

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User Review  - gypsysmom - LibraryThing

This was George Eliot's first published work. Unlike her later works it is not a novel but instead three short stories. The first is The Sad Fortunes of the Reverend Amos Barton. Reverend Barton is ... Read full review

Contents

V
1
VI
77
VII
351
VIII
355
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Page xxiii - A spirit of innovation is generally the result of a selfish temper and confined views. People will not look forward to posterity who never look backward to their ancestors.
Page xxxii - The blessed work of helping the world forward happily does not wait to be done by perfect men, and I should imagine that neither Luther nor John Bunyan, for example, would have satisfied the modern demand for an ideal hero, who believes nothing but what is true, feels nothing but what is exalted, and does nothing but what is graceful.
Page xxxii - Surely, surely the only true knowledge of our fellowman is that which enables us to feel with him — which gives us a fine ear for the heart-pulses that are beating under the mere clothes of circumstance and opinion.

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About the author (1998)

Mary Ann (Marian) Evanswas born in 1819 in Warwickshire. She attended schools in Nuneaton and Coventry, coming under the influence of evangelical teachers and clergymen. In 1836 her mother died and Marian became her father's housekeeper, educating herself in her spare time. In 1841 she moved to Coventry, and met Charles and Caroline Bray, local progressive intellectuals. Through them she was commissioned to translate Strauss's Life of Jesus and met the radical publisher John Chapman, who, when he purchased the Westminster Review in 1851, made her his managing editor.

Having lost her Christian faith and thereby alienated her family, she moved to London and met Herbert Spencer (whom she nearly married, only he found her too 'morbidly intellectual') and the versatile man-of-letters George Henry Lewes. Lewes was separated from his wife, but with no possibility of divorce. In 1854 he and Marian decided to live together, and did so until Lewes's death in 1878. It was he who encouraged her to turn from philosophy and journalism to fiction, and during those years, under the name of George Eliot, she wrote Scenes of Clerical Life, Adam Bede, The Mill on the Floss, Silas Marner, Romola, Felix Holt, Middlemarchand Daniel Deronda, as well as numerous essays, articles and reviews.

George Eliot died in 1880, only

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