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Scenes of Clerical Life

George Eliot

Book Overview: 

Scenes of Clerical Life, was the first published fiction by George Eliot, the pen name for Mary Anne Evans. It consists of three novellas based on the lives of country clergymen and their communities. These characters interest Eliot not for their theology — she had abandoned conventional Christian belief — but for their humanity. In these stories, we find the earliest signs of the narrative voice, the humanism, and the realism that would make George Eliot one of the greatest novelists of the 1800s.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .ent gives, and he felt as if his very love needed a pardon for its poverty and selfishness.

No outward solace could counteract the bitterness of this inward woe. But outward solace came. Cold faces looked kind again, and parishioners turned over in their minds what they could best do to help their pastor. Mr. Oldinport wrote to express his sympathy, and enclosed another twenty-pound note, begging that he might be permitted to contribute in this way to the relief of Mr. Barton's mind from pecuniary anxieties, under the pressure of a grief which all his parishioners must share; and offering his interest towards placing the two eldest girls in a school expressly founded for clergymen's daughters. Mr. Cleves succeeded in collecting thirty pounds among his richer clerical brethren, and, adding ten pounds himself, sent the sum to Amos, with the kindest and most delicate words of Christian fellowship and manly friendship. Miss Jackson forgot old grievances,. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Granted, this isn’t probably as deserving of five stars as Middlemarch, Daniel Deronda, The Mill on the Floss, or Romola (!), but it still gets the highest rating from me for its sheer delight, the charm of its Hardy-esque bucolic setting, and the undeniable emotional power and impact of George Elio

This debut novel by George Eliot (Marian Evans) — actually three novellas — was written in 1857, sometimes referred to as the Age of Religious Novels. Anthony Trollope wrote Barchester Towers in the same year. "Janet's Repentance" has unusual themes for a Victorian novel: domestic abuse and a female

After reading Janet's Repentance I was compelled to read the first two stories and I think enjoyed them more because Eliot allowed more humour and gentleness, although the understanding and sensitivity she shows in her portrayal of domestic abuse in Janet's Repentance is very fine. Eliot's writing n

Even George Eliot’s early efforts at fiction in these three stories are filled with such human emotion! She brought tears to my eyes with each story, though Janet’s Repentance is definitely my favorite of the three.

Eliot's first novel is more like three short stories thematically linked through religious examination, female prerogative and compassionate love. A way for the budding author to control the plots without getting lost and yet while reading the assured prose one doubts that a possible outcome. Eliot

I read 'Scenes of Clerical Life' after having just read Trollope's 'Chronicles of Barsetshire' and all of Jane Austen's works. It is interesting how arcane arguments within the Church of England was such a hot topic for Victorian novelists. There is, with all three writers, a sense that the clergy a

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