Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Classics Challenge--GEORGE ELIOT

I'm participating in A Classics Challenge, in which we read seven works of classic literature in 2012, only three of which can be re-reads. This is courtesy of the literature-loving blog,

My January is already off to a frantic start, as I attempt to revise my 41-chapter novel in five days. Is it possible? Why yes it is. In fact, I'll be done tomorrow. Will my astigmatism worsen from looking at these black letters all day and into the night? Quite possibly. But I'll complete my goal, which is hopefully going to get me where I need to go (that being straight into an agent contract).

SOOO, I haven't gotten to read much. But the book I chose to read first is Daniel Deronda by George Eliot. So for the January part of the challenge, we will answer the following questions (levels are how far into the book I am):

Level 1
Who is the author? What do they look like? When were they born? Where did they live? What does their handwriting look like? What are some of the other novels they've written? What is an interesting and random fact about their life?

Level 2
What do you think of their writing style? What do you like about it? or what would have made you more inclined to like it? Is there are particular quote that has stood out to you?

Level 3
Why do you think they wrote this novel? How did their contemporaries view both the author and their novel?

So here we go. George Eliot was the pen-name of Mary-Anne Evans, born November 22, 1819. Here's what she looks like--seems a bit pensive to me:

I found it interesting that she chose a male pen-name to escape the stereotype that women could only write light-hearted romance. Sounds like a kindred spirit.

She's also written Silas Marner (I loved that one, short but very touching and rather optimistic on the whole), Middlemarch (I saw and loved the movie), Adam Bede (haven't read it yet), and my FAVORITE, The Mill on the Floss (which I thought captured sibling friendship/love perfectly).
I love her writing style because she can be extremely witty and sarcastic, yet very vulnerable and optimistic. She captures characters so vividly and so true-to-life, you feel like you know (or like you ARE) the MC.

I saw the movie of Daniel Deronda and I have to say the strong-willed, bossy main character, Gwendolen, KIND-OF resonated with me, just a tad. Of course, she makes some bad choices and winds up in a not-too-happy place.

I've found some zinger quotes in this novel.  Here are a couple...okay, a FEW:

"Genius...comes into the world to make new rules."

"Gwendolen had not considered that the desire to conquer is itself a sort of subjection."

"You could hardly have seen his face thoroughly meeting yours without believing that human creatures had done nobly in times past, and might do more nobly in time to come."


"He could no more dream of her giving him pain than an Egyptian could dream of snow."

So I hope you've enjoyed our little tete-a-tete with George Eliot.  And I'm so glad I don't have to use a guy's name to be taken seriously now.  See you for another Classics Challenge the 4th of February!

****So what about you? Have you read any George Eliot novels/seen any of the movies? Do you like her stuff?*****


Debbie said...

Having read this post, I will be adding George Eliot to one of my many reading lists.

Heather Day Gilbert said...

That's great! I highly recommend her. I know Middlemarch is super-long, but I want to read that one someday. I love her so much more than Jane Austen--I know that sounds like heresy to some!

Cat said...

I have to confess I've never read George Eliot but I have Middlemarch on my list for this year. She seems so popular I feel I'm missing out!
Enjoyed your post - great images and love the quotes.

Anne said...

I have not read any George Eliot books but I did see the movie Daniel Deronda and I liked it. I am thinking I am going to have to read one of these books now, possibly The Mill on the Floss since you enjoyed it so much!

Jillian said...

You make me want to pick up The Mill on the Floss right now!! I ♥ Middlemarch -- though I'm only about 70 pages in right now.

Love that photo of her.

I remember Delight said...

I had to read Middlemarch for college last year - it was an interesting novel, the way it sets up the characters. Didn't finish it, but I would give it another try. She was extremely well read and that showed in Middlemarch - she talked about science and philosophy and other topics too. Maybe that's why she wanted to be seperate from Austen but who knows?

reader said...

Daniel Deronda is on my list for this year! I have enjoyed her other books, so I'm looking forward to reading it.

Debbie Rodgers said...

I'm ashamed to say that I've never read anything by Eliot, although I have intended to since high school (45 years ago!)

Shelley said...

I've read most of Eliot's works and love the movie adaptations, especially Daniel Deronda. I've always wondered why her books are still published under George Eliot while the Bronte sisters are now published under their real names.

Judaye said...

I never saw that particular picture of her before. It's the best one I ever seen. I like George Eliot and have read Adam Bede, Silas Marner, and am halfway through The Mill on the Floss.

Heather Day Gilbert said...

I liked this one, too--says it's a portrait of her by Samuel Laurence.

Heather Day Gilbert said...

Oh, and Judaye, tell me about Adam Bede--did you like it? Would you recommend it?

Katherine said...

I'm only a few pages into her Middlemarch, but I'm sorely tempted to pick up Silas Marner right now. I've seen and love all the adaptations of her novels.
Thank you for your post, Heather! :)

Tracy said...

I've just really enjoyed reading Silas Marner for the first time for the Classics Challenge. I read Middlemarch back in the nineties, after enjoying watching an excellent BBC adaptation on TV. I have yet to try Mill on the Floss or Daniel Deronda - maybe next year (I'm reading seven classic novels for the challenge, plus three Dickens' novels this year - so I think that's enough classic literature for 2012!)

diaryofadomesticgoddess said...

I've never read any Eliot, but I plan to. :)
Here's myClassics Challenge post on Anne Brontë

everybookandcranny said...

I loved Middlemarch but it remains the only work that I've read by Eliot. I own a copy of the Mill on the Floss and your comments remind that I need to get around to it soon.

Heather Day Gilbert said...

Yes, I think you'll enjoy Mill on the Floss. Love the say she develops Maggie's personality--so much so that I felt a real kinship with her.

Anbolyn (Gudrun's Tights) said...

I have been reading Middlemarch for over a year now - I will finish it someday! I like it, but it takes intense concentration to understand and my brain just can't go there most of the time.