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George Eliot

Book Overview: 

George Eliot's own favorite among her novels, this novel tells the story of Romola, the intelligent daughter of a blind scholar, who is falling in love with a man who is going to change her life and the politics of Florence in a way she doesn't like. Set in 15th century Florence, it is "a deep study of life in the city of Florence from an intellectual, artistic, religious, and social point of view".

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .and under his scapulary, and drawing out a small linen bag which hung round his neck, took from it a bit of parchment, doubled and stuck firmly together with some black adhesive substance, and placed it in Tito’s hand. On the outside was written in Italian, in a small but distinct character—

“Tito Melema, aged twenty-three, with a dark, beautiful face, long dark curls, the brightest smile, and a large onyx ring on his right forefinger.”

Tito did not look at the friar, but tremblingly broke open the bit of parchment. Inside, the words were—

“I am sold for a slave: I think they are going to take me to Antioch. The gems alone will serve to ransom me.”

Tito looked round at the friar, but could only ask a question with his eyes.

“I had it at Corinth,” the friar said, speaking with difficulty, like one whose small strength had been overtaxed—“I had it from a man who was dying.”

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Community Reviews


I wrote my Master's thesis on this book, so I am aware of the long history of bad reviews for this quite revolutionary novel for George Eliot. The language is definitely difficult (contemporary reviewers complained of not being able to read it without a dictionary), but the rewards are definitely wo

If you’re looking to read your first George Eliot, don’t start with Romola. In 1866, Henry James called it Eliot’s greatest novel to date (and that means greater than The Mill on the Floss, which opinion is goofy). “It is decidedly the most important,” he wrote of the novel, “--not the most entertai

I'm not sure what moved Henry James to pronounce this George Eliot's best work. It isn't. It's like saying The Beautiful and the Damned was Scott Fitzgerald's best work or Between the Acts was Virginia Woolf's. Sometimes literary criticism can acquire the forensic objectivity of science.

There's no

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