By George Eliot
(Everyman's Library, Hardcover, 9780375411236, 928pp.)
Publication Date: September 19, 2000
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George Eliot’s last and most unconventional novel is considered by many to be her greatest. First published in 1876, Daniel Deronda is a richly imagined epic with a mysterious hero at its heart.
Daniel Deronda, a high-minded young man searching for his path in life, finds himself drawn by a series of dramatic encounters into two contrasting worlds: the English country-house life of Gwendolen Harleth, a high-spirited beauty trapped in an oppressive marriage to a wealthy man, and the very different life of a poor Jewish girl, Mirah, who is searching for her family. After rescuing Mirah from an attempt to drown herself in the Thames, Deronda accompanies her on her quest into London’s Jewish community, which he finds unexpectedly appealing. Gwendolen, meanwhile, increasingly relies on his support as she suffers from the consequences of her mistakes and the terror that she has brought a curse upon herself. As Deronda uncovers the surprising secret of his own parentage, Eliot’s moving and suspenseful narrative opens up a world of Jewish experience previously unknown to the Victorian novel.
“Daniel Deronda is a startling and unexpected novel . . . it is a cosmic myth, a world history, and a morality play.” —A. S. Byatt