The Ordeal of Richard Feverel

Front Cover
Penguin, Jun 1, 1999 - Fiction - 560 pages
1 Review
"Of all nineteenth-century English novels, " claims Edward Mendelson in his Introduction to this edition, "The Ordeal of Richard Feverel is the most self-consciously literary in its style and structure and the most sexually explicit in its plot and theme." First published in 1859, Meredith's first and most controversial novel concerns Sir Austin Feverel's misconceived attempts to educate his son Richard according to a system of his own devising -- a system based on theories of sexual restraint. Exploring generational and gender conflicts, the psychology of sexual jealousy and repression, and myths of Eden and Utopia, The Ordeal of Richard Feverel shocked Victorian readers but gained for itself a cult following. "Now that it has been freed from its reputation, " writes Mendelson, "readers can discover again the tragic and ironic force, and the psychological and formal complexity that make The Ordeal of Richard Feverel one of the most profound, subtle, and moving works of English fiction."


What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ACDoyleLibrary - LibraryThing

"What a great book it is, how wise and how witty! Others of the master's novels may be more characteristic or more profound, but for my own part it is the one which I would always present to the new ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - wirkman - LibraryThing

One of the great novels, and one of the greatest of the under-rated classics. Quite funny, with quirky prose and a great deal of imagination behind the novel's construction. The author's first "realistic" novel, a comedy of manners and education. Read full review


CHAPTER IThe Pilgrims Scrip1
CHAPTER IIA Glimpse Behind the Mask
CHAPTER VCelebrates the Timehonoured Treatment of a Dragon by the Hero
CHAPTER VIRichard Is Summoned to Town to Hear a Sermon
CHAPTER VIIIndicates the Approaches of Fever
CHAPTER VIIICrisis in the AppleDisease
CHAPTER IXOf the Spring Primrose and the Autumnal
CHAPTER XIn which the Hero Takes a Step
CHAPTER XIRecords the Rapid Development of the Hero
CHAPTER XIIContains an Intercession for the Heroine

CHAPTER IIIMrs Malediction
CHAPTER IVThe Inmates of Raynham Abbey
CHAPTER VShowing How the Fates Selected the Fourteenth Birthday to Try the Strength of the System
CHAPTER VIThe Magian Conflict1
CHAPTER VIIIAdrian Plies his Hook
CHAPTER IXJuvenile Stratagems
CHAPTER XDaphnes Bower
CHAPTER XIThe Bitter Cup
CHAPTER XIIA Fine Distinction
CHAPTER XIIIRichard Passes through his Preliminary Ordeal and Is the Occasion of an Aphorism
CHAPTER XIVIn which the Last Act of the Bakewell Comedy Is Closed in a Letter
CHAPTER XVThe Blossoming Season
CHAPTER XVIThe Magnetic Age
CHAPTER XVIIIFerdinand and Miranda1
CHAPTER XIXUnmasking of Master Ripton Thompson
CHAPTER IGood Wine and Good Blood
CHAPTER IIThe System Encounters the Wild Oats Special Plea
CHAPTER IIIA Shadowy View of Cœlebs Pater Going About with a GlassSlipper
CHAPTER IVA Diversion Played on a PennyWhistle
CHAPTER XIIIRelates How Preparations for Action Were Conducted under the April of Lovers
CHAPTER XIVIn which the Last Act of a Comedy Takes the Place of the First
CHAPTER XVCelebrates the Breakfast
CHAPTER XVIThe Philosopher Appears in Person
CHAPTER IProcession of the Cake
CHAPTER IINursing the Devil
CHAPTER IIIConquest of an Epicure
CHAPTER IVClares Marriage
CHAPTER VA Dinner Party at Richmond
CHAPTER VIMrs Berry on Matrimony
CHAPTER VIIAn Enchantress
A Berry to the Rescue
CHAPTER IXClares Diary
CHAPTER XAustin Returns
CHAPTER XINature Speaks
CHAPTER XIIAgain the Magian Conflict
CHAPTER XIVLady Blandish to Austin Wentworth

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1999)

Edward Mendelson is a professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University. He is the literary executor of W. H. Auden's estate and the editor of Auden's complete works. Among his previous books are "Early Auden, Later Auden," and editions of novels by Anthony Trollope, George Meredith, Thomas Hardy, H. G. Wells, and Arnold Bennett. He lives in New York City with his wife and son.

Bibliographic information