The debut novel of George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans) consists of three loosely connected tales, all focusing on country parsons in nineteenth-century England and their struggles to breathe life into moribund creeds while dealing with their own personal problems. "The Sad Fortunes of the Reverend Amos Barton" vividly recreates the impoverished life of an uninspiring preacher who is unable to move the simple townsfolk of his parish with religion, yet in the end evokes their compassion when tragedy strikes his family. In "Mr. Gilfil's Love-Story" a web of unrequited love entangles a young parson in a difficult moral dilemma that contrasts all-too-human passion with idealistic love. The concluding story, "Janet's Repentance," describes the sectarian strife between the established Anglican church and the new Methodism of the time. In the midst of this conflict, a Methodist minister comes to the aid of the abused, alcoholic wife of his chief Anglican enemy.
Eliot displays her gifts for creating interesting moral conflicts, vivid characters, and realistic dialogue in these engrossing and enduring tales.
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Founded in 1906 by J.M. Dent, the Everyman Library has always tried to make the best books ever written available to the greatest number of people at the lowest possible price. Unique editorial features that help Everyman Paperback Classics stand out from the crowd include: a leading scholar or literary critic's introduction to the text, a biography of the author, a chronology of her or his life and times, a historical selection of criticism, and a concise plot summary. All books published since 1993 have also been completely restyled: all type has been reset, to offer a clarity and ease of reading unique among editions of the classics; a vibrant, full-color cover design now complements these great texts with beautiful contemporary works of art. But the best feature must be Everyman's uniquely low price. Each Everyman title offers these extensive materials at a price that competes with the most inexpensive editions on the market-but Everyman Paperbacks have durable binding, quality paper, and the highest editorial and scholarly standards.About the Author:
George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans Cross) was born on November 22, 1819 at Arbury Farm, Warwickshire, England. She received an ordinary education and, upon leaving school at the age of sixteen, embarked on a program of independent study to further her intellectual growth. In 1841 she moved with her father to Coventry, where the influences of “skeptics and rationalists” swayed her from an intense religious devoutness to an eventual break with the church. The death of her father in 1849 left her with a small legacy and the freedom to pursue her literary inclinations. In 1851 she became the assistant editor of the Westminster Review, a position she held for three years. In 1854 came the fated meeting with George Henry Lewes, the gifted editor of The Leader, who was to become her adviser and companion for the next twenty-four years. Her first book, Scenes of a Clerical Life (1858), was followed by Adam Bede (1859), The Mill on the Floss (1860), Silas Marner (1861), and Middlemarch (1872). The death of Lewes, in 1878, left her stricken and lonely. On May 6, 1880, she married John Cross, a friend of long standing, and after a brief illness she died on December 22 of that year, in London.
David Lodge is the author of twelve novels and a novella, including the Booker Prize finalists Small World and Nice Work. He is also the author of many works of literary criticism, including The Art of Fiction and Consciousness and the Novel.
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