download Best Daniel DerondaAuthor George Eliot –

A Beautiful Young Woman Stands Poised Over The Gambling Tables In An Expensive Hotel She Is Aware Of, And Resents, The Gaze Of An Unusual Young Man, A Stranger, Who Seems To Judge Her, And Find Her Wanting The Encounter Will Change Her LifeThe Strange Young Man Is Daniel Deronda, Brought Up With His Own Origins Shrouded In Mystery, Searching For A Compelling Outlet For His Singular Talents And Remarkable Capacity For Empathy Deronda S Destiny Will Change The Lives Of Many

10 thoughts on “Daniel Deronda

  1. says:

    I watched a TV adaptation recently of Andrea Levy s Small Island, a book I had read when it first came out but which I d or less forgotten The adaptation succeeded very well, and might even have been better than the book The characters were very credible and their words and actions explained their circumstances perfectly But there was a voiceover which I thought was unnecessary since the faces of the actors were very expressive and the dialogues filled in any missing background information Soon afterwards, I watched the first episode of a three part adaptation of Daniel Deronda, and had the opposite reaction Nothing made sense to me I was convinced that a large part of Eliot s intentions for the story were missing, and while the actors were all fine in their way, the words they were given to say were simply not enough I tried to fill in the missing bits myself but couldn t it was impossible to imagine the history and motivations that lay behind those characters and their actions, as impossible as trying to imagine the layers of messages underlying the movie title Three Billboards outside Ebbing Missouri until you ve viewed that extraordinary film for yourself which I ve just done If there had been a book on which that film was based, I m certain that it could never measure up to the movie Every frame was a billboard in itself, and the message on each was astonishingly spare and incredibly eloquent.George Eliot is very eloquent, but there is nothing spare about her writing You cannot pare it down and fit it in movie frames yet it is very visual for all that It belongs on the page but offers the big screen experience to the mind s eye You just have to read all the words to see the pictures properly I was very glad I abandoned the TV adaptation after that first episode and picked up the book instead Right from the first page I realised that without the support of the text I could never have succeeded in fully understanding the complexities of motivation that lay behind the surface story, or indeed the scope of Eliot s project in the first place And when I reached the end of the book, I was certain that I didn t need to watch the rest of the TV adaptation the book had been vivid for me that any adaptation could be I posted an update the day I finished the book, regretting that the reading experience was over, and a curious conversation erupted in the comments section of that update comment 17 onwards The conversation made me realise that there are readers who tackle books as if their task was to adapt them for the screen rather than simply read what is on the page They would like to cut massive sections, delete certain characters altogether and make other characters act differently so that the story might move towards an ending they think is fitting You could say that such an approach is a very creative way of reading but you could also wonder where the writer s intentions for her work fit in that scenario The writer s intentions are everything for me I may probe them and question them sometimes but I would never disregard them A writer s work is a sacred thing, a bit like other people s religious beliefs, not to be tampered with even when we don t revere them ourselves I mention religion because it is a major theme in this book George Eliot seems to have become and interested in Judaism during the course of her life, at first in an effort to overcome her own prejudices towards the increasing Jewish population in mid nineteenth century Britain, and then later because she had become genuinely interested in the common origin of Judaism and Christianity This book is essentially about that preoccupation but because Eliot is very good at creating story lines, she has inserted the Jewish themed story into an intriguing frame story Readers seem to differ about which story is the worthwhile part of the book, and many favour the frame story However, I found that the two strands overlapped and echoed each other so well that I never even thought of separating or comparing them Characters from both sections mirrored each other even if they seemed completely opposite, and the central redeemer like figure of Daniel Deronda linked them all together perfectly The overall shape of the book worked very well for me and I m left in awe of George Eliot s mind as well as her writing The result of this unplanned reading adventure is that Daniel Deronda now marks the beginning of my 2018 George Eliot season I m looking forward to reading the rest of her books, and I may possibly reread Middlemarch as a fitting endnote So much for the to read stack I selected at the beginning of January Abandoned indefinitely Because I ve a keen interest in Henry James, and I know he admired George Eliot s writing, I was interested to spot what might have been the germ of his inspiration for The Portrait of a Lady Eliot s frame story concerns a fiercely independent minded young woman who, in spite of the general expectation, is in no hurry to marry anyone Nevertheless, like HJ s Isabel Archer, Gwendolyn Harleth finds herself enslaved by a cold hearted husband who is only interested in crushing her independent spirit It seems to me that Henleigh Grandcourt and HJ s Gilbert Osmond have a lot in common.Eliot s main story also reminded me of another Henry James plot line I think Daniel Deronda could have been an inspiration for Hyacinth Robinson in Princess Casamassima They are both orphans who desperately need to discover about their parents, and they both become deeply involved in movements they had no previous associations with Slim connections, perhaps, but I love finding such links.

  2. says:

    THE DIPTYCH This novel was renewed my interest on how George Eliot wrote I am highly tempted to read about her and approach literary evaluations of her writing, but before I do so I want to read Adam Bede and Silas Marner and may be reread The Mill on the Floss.When I read Romola I considered GE s cosmopolitanism and breath of knowledge These elements are also present in Daniel Deronda but with an added edge With Middlemarch it was the role of the narrator and the clear presence of the author that attracted me In DD the voice of the writer is also clear but in less authorial fashion and, one suspects, speaking often through her characters What struck me most, and want to select for my review this time, is the structure of the novel It is clearly divided in two Clearly a diptych Already MM seemed to me to consist of two parallel stories joined somewhat seamlessly in the middle The study of provincial evolved around two foci, the doctor Lydgate and the illuminated Dorothea Both idealists The twists and turnings of the plot, however, managed to link the two stories creating a middle path in Middlemarch were these two different versions of dreamers confronted each other and helped each other in correcting their reflections.This double structure is again present in Daniel Deronda, GE s last novel, but with a wider gap between the two panels With almost separated frames the novel reads like a double portrait, or a diptych with two facing and complementary donors searching for an object of adoration that is however missing for the Self is never in the other The two subjects pursue their mirroring images and transverse their separating frames by engaging in dialogs and verbal encounters The twists and turns of the plot this time do not fuse their separated worlds Only their minds bridge the gap.Generally I do not discuss characters in my reviews, but I can t avoid it this time In this novel, the two protagonists, the sitters in the double portrait, baffled me Gwendolen Gwen , potentially a highly irritating young woman, fascinated me because I thought she was such a modern character I expected that young powerful women in today s professional world, and who are not just capable and intelligent, but also beautiful and I am thinking of top Wall street traders, or international lawyers of the type, of for example, Amal Aladdin , must have a similar self assurance and defiance and inner drive and independence and lan as Gwen But even if these contemporary women have had a better chance to explore and exploit their abilities in their chosen fields of excellence than GE has allowed Gwen, she did not get on my nerves I was enthralled by her modernity Daniel, in spite of having claimed the title of the novel, remained for me an equivocal figure It is almost as if in my diptych Daniel with his messianic role turned around, for he is the Christian leading onto the Jewish is a donor who through a process of transubstantiation has become the object of adoration.And in that transformation, the novel dims and blurs its cast of characters and becomes and an exploration of ideas, spirituality and politics, with a defence of Judaism and a daring proposal of Zionism In all this Daniel emerges as an ethereal saviour but poor Gwen succumbs and loses her leading edge.And that is what made me wonder about how GE wrote her books and planned her work in her mind Did she spend half of her day doing intellectual research on the subjects that captivated her and did she then transcribe her reading into her novel in the afternoons What was her true objective, to expand her erudition, or to mould it into something else I will have to put aside my curiosity for a while and continue reading her work, but with her intelligent writing and formidable abilities she certainly makes me ponder about the process of writing, that elusive act creativity How is it born and how does it live And how did Rothko paint the above diptych

  3. says:

    I finished this book about a month ago and have been letting my thoughts first simmer and then actually almost get pushed onto the back burner as our summer holidays began Once I decided to look over my notes, I realized that a review might be quite overwhelming Further, the book did not necessarily endear itself to me over time as many typically do when I prepare to write down my impressions On the other hand, I most certainly acknowledge that this was an important book and quite a feat of writing on the part of George Eliot I applaud her efforts at setting on paper her ideas regarding feminism, the British aristocracy, and racial identity, in particular that of Judaism What I had the most trouble with was the often cumbersome reflections of the main characters which detracted from the flow of the narrative The interactions between the characters were to me the most stimulating portions to absorb as a reader The characterizations were well done some characters being interesting, even if not likable, than others She had a na ve delight in her fortunate self, which any but the harshest saintliness will have some indulgence for in a girl who had every day seen a pleasant reflection of that self in her friends flattery as well as in the looking glass The spoiled and self absorbed Gwendolen Harleth finds herself in a position she never expected to be that of bad luck and sudden poverty What is a girl to do in this situation Degrade oneself by taking a position or, perhaps worse yet, accept an offer of marriage Her observation of matrimony had inclined her to think it rather a dreary state in which a woman could not do what she liked, had children than were desirable, was consequently dull, and became irrevocably immersed in humdrum Saucy little turns of phrase such as this won me over and held my attention Gwendolen was perhaps the most interesting and multi layered character of this book.When Gwendolen Harleth meets the saintlike figure of Daniel Deronda, their lives become connected as she attempts to better herself to become deserving of his friendship and esteem But while Gwendolen fights her demons, Deronda struggles with his own identity crisis one which stems from an unknown parentage as well as from a strong spiritual link to an impassioned Jewish nationalist, Mordecai Deronda had not the Jewish consciousness, but he had a yearning, grown the stronger for the denial which had been his grievance, after the obligation of avowed filial and social ties Throughout this novel, Eliot illustrates the feelings of anti Semitism which were prevalent during the 19th century Through Deronda, however, these feelings are changed as he develops a relationship with both Mirah, to whom he is also a savior, as well as Mordecai Deronda learns the true and principled nature of the Jewish people and their desire to achieve a national identity let the unity of Israel which has made the growth and form of its religion be an outward reality Looking toward a land and a polity, our dispersed people in all the ends of the earth may share the dignity of a national life which has a voice among the peoples of the East and the West Several players are introduced into the plot, too many for me to delve into detail here I will say that Mr Grandcourt and Mr Lush make my list for the most strikingly malodorous individuals in a very amusing sort of way They provided a nice counterbalance to the gushing wholesomeness of Deronda and Mirah Gwendolen s mother was a bit silly and spineless, especially in relation to her daughter This was my fourth George Eliot novel While I did like it once I plowed through the laborious portions of it I have to say that it is my least favorite so far Both Middlemarch and The Mill on the Floss were much readable and engaging and I would recommend either of these especially for a first time Eliot reader I am glad that I read this one, and happy to add it to my list of difficult tomes I have completed 3.5 stars rounded down.

  4. says:

    Re read from June 07 to June 12, 2012 I had forgotten what a hard work reading Daniel Deronda was It has to be Eliot s most challenging and overwhelming novel, yet such a great pleasure to read and re read It s enormously ambitious novel, broad in its scope, space, time and history The setting itself is untypical of Eliot s previous novels It s no longer the idyllic, provincial villages of Adam Bede or Middlemarch, but Daniel Deronda is set at the heart of cosmopolitan aristocracy of contemporary London The politics are no longer local, but global as Eliot scrutinises the exploits of British Empire The stakes are much higher the individual identities are threatened and lost The conflict is personal, yet also very social Of all the Eliot s novels, Daniel Deronda is the most related to our contemporary society as Eliot explores the themes of racial identity, prejudice, importance of tolerance, religion, the question of gender boundaries, imperialism and Zionism Gwendolen Harleth has to be Eliot s most remarkable and fascinating creation In fact, I am in love with Gwendolen The main reason I re read this novel because I missed her I missed being in her mind, to follow her cognitions, her mental anguish, her witty repartees, sheer snobbery, ambition and heedless narcissism She is of course not the first vain or shallow female character ever created by Eliot The vain girl features in most of Eliot s novels, often as a contrast to the heroine She is there as Hetty in Adam Bede, Esther in Felix Holt, Rosamond in Middlemarch But in Daniel Deronda, Gwendolen is put at the centre of the stage and her narcissism is taken to extremes, that there is a scene where she is moved to kiss her own reflection in the mirror Like countless other women, she suffers from the restrictions Victorian society imposed on any respectable woman She is a dreamer and sees marriage not as a loving union, but as a way to achieve status and power She marries Grandcourt because she thinks she will be able to manage him and make him her slave Yet contrary to her expectations, the marriage turns out to be an abusive one Gwendolen fails to realise that Grandcourt also has an iron will of his own The irony is that her decision to marry the incredibly wealthy Grandcourt was to some extent influenced by her selfless concern towards her bankrupt family So, her partly selfless act becomes the bane of her life Grandcourt is bent on to be a master of a woman who would have liked to master him A painful psychological struggle for power ensues between them and Gwendolen is quickly crushed by him His secret becomes her guilt, a yoke around her neck which continually gnaws at her conscience He breaks her spirit and she becomes withered from inside, a diseased soul , but is forced to play a charade of a happy wife.I liked Deronda even if I found him to be rigid and morally superior He is Eliot s most feminine hero His ostensibly feminine quality of abundant empathy and psychological perceptiveness is contrasted with Gwendolen s masculine desire for power He is the only person who sees Gwendolen for what she is behind her mask of superficial pride and cheerfulness Naturally, Gwendolen is drawn to Deronda to help her make her life bearable He becomes her redeemer, in the same way as he redeems her necklace which she pawns after gambling Her letter to him contains the most moving and tear inducing lines of the whole novel But, Deronda is the man with his own set of troubles Unsure of his true identity, he struggles to find a stable niche in society He is the medium which Eliot uses to explore the plight of London s scorned Jewish community and the emergence of Zionism, for which this novel is perhaps most famous for Daniel Deronda is highly symbolic novel All those literary references to mythology, science, philosophy, religion and mysticism, which slightly irritated me at first reading, fit perfectly in the thematic framework of the novel The characters themselves are symbols Grandcourt symbolises the corruption and vulgarity of English aristocracy, given to reckless materialism and hedonism His need to crush Gwendolen could be interpreted as the Empire s colonial ambitions to conquer and enslave the population of the Third World Deronda s alienation is symbolically shared by the Jewish people to a broader extent, who are scattered around the world with no actual homeland and scorned by the native population of their home countries.Overall, Daniel Deronda is a terribly exhausting but an equally rewarding read If you are new to Eliot, I wouldn t recommend reading this first as it might put you off Eliot forever, but her earlier works such as The Mill on the Floss.

  5. says:

    While ostensibly the story of one Daniel Deronda, a young man of we learn unknown parentage, raised to be an educated Englishman of worth and standing, this novel is also the tale of Gwendolen Harleth, and how their lives intersect We are introduced to both early on and see them off and on over time as they face changes within their families, their sense of self, their future This is my third Eliot novel While I found some truly wonderful prose here, as I have found in the others I have read, I was left with the impression that Eliot attempted than she could comfortably accomplish Her character descriptions are typically excellent, some quite amusing She is able to skewer her people both lovingly and not As an example of the first perhaps there is this description of Gwendolen And happening to be seated sideways before the long strip of mirror between her two windows she turned to look at herself, leaning her elbow on the back of the chair in an attitude that might have been chosen for her portrait It is possible to have a strong self love without self satisfaction, rather with a self discontent which is the intense because one s own little core of egoistic sensibility is a supreme care but Gwendolen knew nothing of such inward strife She had a naive delight in her fortunate self loc 972 As for another character, Grandcourt when he raised his hat he showed an extensive baldness surrounded with a mere fringe of reddish blond hair the line of feature from brow to chin undisguised by beard was decidedly handsome, with only moderate departures from the perpendicular, and the slight whisker too was perpendicular It was not possible for a human aspect to be freer from grimace or solicitous wrigglings also it was perhaps not possible for a breathing man wide awake to look less animated.his long narrow grey eyes expressed nothing but indifference. loc 2507 But after these characterizations comes the plot and here comes also what, for me, was the problem Here it felt as if Eliot s concern for the politics and history of her story overwhelmed the narrative That never really gelled with the basic story of the characters The polemics overshadowed several chapters and a few of the characters, seeming to reduce them to ciphers But Eliot is still a powerful writer and, often, a clever and beautiful writer I didn t find her writing about the cause too strident Some of it I found very appealing But as a whole I don t think it succeeded in bringing the story of Daniel Deronda fully to life.

  6. says:

    This was one of those long stories that in the end were worth a read I have previously read Middlemarch by George Eliot, but in many ways I find Daniel Deronda to be a different story that is interesting in many ways Our main character, Gwendolen, is quite a character She s selfish, attention seeking and frivolous, and in many ways she actually reminded me of Scarlett O Hara in Gone with the Wind I liked reading about her a lot especially because she does change throughout the narrative but some people might find her too repulsive to take an interest in The other main character is Daniel Deronda who is, in many ways, the opposite of Gwendolen It s very interesting to see the way his life is parallelled to Gwendolen s especially because his life is in many ways different from hers He s considerate, caring, and he develops a fondness for Jews and wants to explore their religion and way of living in spite of them being anhorred by most white Christians in the current English society This is an epic tale that takes devotion to get through, but while it took me some effort to read it because of its many reflections on life oftentimes directed directly to the reader which I wasn t that fond of , all in all I find this work to be accomplished, entertaining and very interesting It s definitely worth a read, and I m happy that I got to be acquainted with Gwendolen, Daniel and the magnificent set of characters.

  7. says:

    This last novel by George Eliot is a psychological investigation into the question of identity and role Identity concealed, identity as a role to be performed, identity as a prison This is also the only written in Eliot s own time, instead of some decades previous It asks difficult questions about the nature of class, race, and gender, and their understanding in contemporary society.Upon this, there is a dimension of secularism and religious mysticism The figure of Mordecai, infusing political ideas with religious symbolism and the background presence of references to death and the supernatural all this is an unusual step for Eliot, who is otherwise committed to psychological realism Another key focus of the novel is positive portrayal of Judaism then an oppressed and stereotyped religious minority in England, even after Disraeli became Prime Minister Mirah seems a childish naif, almost a noble savage, and seeing Daniel s relationship with her is discomfiting Even in her strenuous attempts to show that this oppressed and ignored group are in fact human beings with consciences, hopes, and dreams, Eliot perhaps unconsciously wanders into some stereotyping That is a persistent form of racism, one which refers to stereotyping instead of active hatred and spite.Even so, Eliot takes great pains to sympathize and learn here She grants a voice to this people s hope for a new land, a home, a place to find others like you, and a place to call one s own All of this is tied with the words Zionism and the land of Israel, which are loaded with new implications and urgency over the next century and a half The historical introduction assures us that the Jewish community were elated by this sympathetic representation For any flaws it may have after over a century, Eliot has gone out of her way to lend her considerable gifts in writing and psychological depiction to empathize with them a noted step up from anything before.

  8. says:

    Now here s a book that combines two of my very favorite things classic British romance with YES Jewish themes Marian Evans a k a George Eliot even went to Frankfurt am Main to do research for the book in the times of no less than Rav Samson Rafael Hirsch I think I ve found a thesis topic if I ever get to graduate school Till then, though, I ll have to content myself with this review No major spoilers, but it is a pretty detailed plot summary, so if you want to be 100% safe, skip to the last two paragraphs.In the opening scene, we meet Gwendolen Harleth as in, sounds like harlot who is on a winning streak at a roulette table Observing her is the title character, Daniel Deronda She feels he is judging her negatively, which disconcerts her, so she begins to lose Within the next few scenes, he takes a mysterious action which really unnerves her And that is the last we see of him until Chapter 16.The story then backtracks to Gwendolen s family life, and this is the part that is most reminiscent of a Jane Austen novel though Eliot s prose is much denser Gwendolen s social position is similar to that of the Dashwood girls she s not rich, but she socializes in the upper class circle of a small country town As a character, though, she is of an anti heroine than heroine Like Lydia Bennet, she s out first and foremost for a good time, except she s cleverer and calculating She wants admirers, especially male admirers, but then scorns them without caring about how many hearts she breaks This section of the book is called The Spoiled Child, and George Eliot paints the hateful portrait in painstaking detail.Enter Mr Grandcourt Read grand court landed gentry He s way too suave for Gwendolen to scorn, and her family watches their courtship with eagerness After all, from a financial standpoint, he s a Good Catch But even when Gwendolen gets evidence of his rakishness, she finds she can t resist him They marry Then the novel shifts back to Daniel Deronda, a young gentleman with no clear direction He was a serious scholar at Cambridge and proved himself to be exceptionally kind to his friends, but he lives in the shadow of not knowing who his parents are Rumor has it that he is the illegitimate son of Sir Hugo Mallinger, the nobleman who raised him Daniel also believes the rumors, but loves Sir Hugo too much to confront him about it Meanwhile, Sir Hugo s legal heir is none other than Gwendolen s husband, Mr Grandcourt.In a scene I won t dare spoil, Daniel encounters Mirah, a Jewess She is literally a tinok she nishbu, a kidnapped child raised away from Judaism When Daniel finds her, she is nineteen years old, has escaped her captors, and is in desperate search of her family Daniel, like Harry Potter, has a thing about saving people, so he joins in the search, and this leads him into the Jewish communities of London and Frankfurt.Jews, especially baalei teshuva, will appreciate if not love Chapter 32 It includes the descriptions of the Frankfurt synagogue taken from Rav Hirsch I just can t get over it and Mirah s passionate declaration to her Christian friends, I will always cling to my people Mirah is a bit of a Mary Sue, but she gives voice to the pintele Yid that motivates all us BTs How in the world did George Eliot know The rest of the novel alternates between scenes of Gwendolen in her souring marriage and scenes with the Jewish characters, which notably includes a visionary named Mordecai who is preaching religious Zionism Daniel, the knight errant, weaves his way through all of their lives Comic relief from Daniel s friend, Hans Meyrick Naturally, I am partial to the Jewish sections, but from a literary point of view, the portrayal of Gwendolen is the most masterful part of the novel No character goes through as dramatic a transformation as she.I must reiterate that George Eliot does not reach Jane Austen in terms of prose style At times the text is so heavy and full of extraneous detail that I suspected that like Dickens, she was paid by the word But while Dickens was making it big with Fagin, Eliot was taking on anti Semitism, not just by creating positive Jewish characters, but by letting her Christian characters work through their prejudices in the course of the novel That makes her a heroine in my eyes.The scholarly introduction to my copy of the novel included some very interesting literary history The British critics of the time panned the book for its Jewish themes One suggested that Eliot should have left the Jews out and just called the book Gwendolen An anonymous sequel by that title appeared a few years later, doing or less that by killing off the Jewish characters and continuing the story of Gwendolen and Deronda But the Jewish community s reaction was a mirror image of the British critics The Jews loved the book, though some said that the romantic themes detracted from the main point of the novel, which was Zionism And in parallel to the anonymous sequel, the German Jewish novelist Marcus Lehman adapted the book to include only the Jewish themes I think the whole thing is pretty funny.Personally, I loved both parts of the book the British and the Jewish If you re a fan of either genre, this is a worthwhile read And if, like me, you re a fan of both, chances are that you ll find in this book a lifetime favorite you ll be happy to immerse yourself in over and over again.

  9. says:

    Oh dear, I was supposed to be rereading this over a couple of months with a book group but it s so darn gripping even on a second read that I ve ended up rushing ahead and finishing it due to the proverbial couldn t put it down My original review is below but on this reread I was struck by the extent to which Eliot seems to be setting up sections that duplicate well known literary scenarios the section where Grandcourt leases the great house and sets off marital expectations and plans in local families is so Pride Prejudice, and there s a Sense Sensibility feel a little later view spoiler when Gwen s mother and aunt lose all their money, and they have to downsize to a cottage albeit one with four bedrooms hide spoiler

  10. says:

    Thursday It may take me a while to review this I am en route to Scotland for a walking weekend and in any case I m not sure anything I say can do it justice Sunday Daniel Deronda is Eliot s last novel, and I have wanted to read it ever since reading Sophie and the Sybil by Patricia Duncker a couple of years ago In that book Duncker reimagined the circumstances that led Eliot to create the book, and Sophie has much in common with the wilful and impulsive Gwendolen Harleth, one of Eliot s two major characters.The book is big, complex and surprisingly modern at times, telling the parallel but ultimately separate stories of Gwendolen and Daniel Daniel has been brought up as the ward of an English gentleman, and the story is largely about his rediscovery of his Jewish roots.I don t want to say too much at this stage because the book is the subject of a group discussion at Reading the Chunksters for the next couple of months, and I don t want to preempt that discussion.