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Old 04-28-2021, 08:58 PM   #1
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Daniel Deronda by George Eliot

Welcome to the opening discussion in MR's newly formed Classics Salon.

We have decided to start with the final novel of one of England's greatest writers, Mary Ann Evans, better known by her pen name of George Eliot.

She wrote "I meant everything in the book to be related to everything else", and wove the strands of her plot together to give us a portrait of the British society of her time, and of the Jewish experience within it.

“Daniel Deronda is a startling and unexpected novel . . . it is a cosmic myth, a world history, and a morality play.” (A. S. Byatt)

Last edited by issybird; 05-04-2021 at 09:52 AM. Reason: Start discussion thread.
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Old 04-29-2021, 04:08 PM   #2
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I look forward to Daniel Deronda. For anyone’s information, there is a quite disputed assessment of the novel in The Great Tradition by F R Leavis.
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Old 05-02-2021, 03:14 AM   #3
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I'm ten days into Daniel Deronda, and only at 45% through! I'm a bit surprised by the title. For the book so far it ought to be called Gwendolen Harleth!
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Old 05-02-2021, 12:41 PM   #4
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I'm ten days into Daniel Deronda, and only at 45% through! I'm a bit surprised by the title. For the book so far it ought to be called Gwendolen Harleth!
I haven't started yet, but my first thought was maybe an author with a male pseudonym didn't want to use a feminine title? Looking at her bibliography though, she did have one in Romola.
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Old 05-02-2021, 12:42 PM   #5
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I'm ten days into Daniel Deronda, and only at 45% through! I'm a bit surprised by the title. For the book so far it ought to be called Gwendolen Harleth!
Just wait - the Daniel Deronda narrative strands will follow. Some critics called it two books in one.
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Old 05-03-2021, 01:15 PM   #6
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Just wait - the Daniel Deronda narrative strands will follow. Some critics called it two books in one.
And some call Gwendolyn Eliot's best character in all of her works!
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Old 05-03-2021, 02:31 PM   #7
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Just wait - the Daniel Deronda narrative strands will follow. Some critics called it two books in one.

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And some call Gwendolyn Eliot's best character in all of her works!
Leavis was one who noted the fact that there were in effect two books. He also felt that Gwedolyn was possibly the greatest character Eliot created.

However he also felt that the novel as a whole was a failure--mainly because of the Deronda section.

Elsewhere, in an essay, “Gwendolen Harleth” he said “. . . my purpose . . . is to establish . . . that there is a major classic, which may suitably called ‘Gwendolen Harleth,’ hidden from the general recognition it deserves in the voluminous mixed work that George Eliot published--a classic that it is incumbent on us to reclaim for English literature.”

From The Critic As Anti-Philosopher 1982 pp. 65-75

Leavis seems to feel that it might be a good idea to simply eliminate the Deronda section and keep the Gwendolen portion as a separate narrative.

Not everyone agrees.

Last edited by fantasyfan; 05-03-2021 at 02:58 PM.
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Old 05-03-2021, 03:06 PM   #8
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Leavis was one who noted the fact that there were in effect two books. He also felt that Gwedolyn was possibly the greatest character Eliot created.

However he also felt that the novel as a whole was a failure--mainly because of the Deronda section.

Elsewhere, in an essay, “Gwendolen Harleth” he said “. . . my purpose . . . is to establish . . . that there is a major classic, which may suitably called ‘Gwendolen Harleth,’ hidden from the general recognition it deserves in the voluminous mixed work that George Eliot published--a classic that it is incumbent on us to reclaim for English literature.”

From The Critic As Anti-Philosopher 1982 pp. 65-75

Leavis seems to feel that it might be a good idea to simply eliminate the Deronda section and keep the Gwendolen portion as a separate narrative.

Not everyone agrees.
This is certain to be a discussion point once the thread is launched! I'm quite enjoying the Gwendolen character.
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Old 05-04-2021, 10:00 AM   #9
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Since people seemed to be champing at the bit in regard to Daniel Deronda it seemed time to bow to reality and kick off the book discussion thread with posts transferred from the Welcome thread.

However, for those who might feel blindsided, the official start date has not been changed! I’m personally looking forward to a leisurely read, even akin to the way it was first experienced, in installments.
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Old 05-04-2021, 11:25 AM   #10
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@issybird: You might want to add a prefix to this thread, just to keep it clear this is part of the Classics Salon.

That being said, I'm still working to find more hours to listen to DD. Though like others, I am, just a bit, wondering when Mr. Deronda will make more of an appearance than that brief bit in the first chapter.
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Old 05-04-2021, 11:38 AM   #11
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@issybird: You might want to add a prefix to this thread, just to keep it clear this is part of the Classics Salon.

That being said, I'm still working to find more hours to listen to DD. Though like others, I am, just a bit, wondering when Mr. Deronda will make more of an appearance than that brief bit in the first chapter.
Heh. Thanks, Charlie, that’s exactly what I just came here to do.

And, there’s no rush here! The official start date to read and discuss is still over a week away.
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Old 05-04-2021, 03:59 PM   #12
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I was immediately intrigued by the epigraphs for each chapter, some with attributions, most without, and decided to do some digging.

Here is a link to a lengthy discussion on Goodreads and here is a link to a more scholarly examination.

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Old 05-04-2021, 04:24 PM   #13
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Sorry for jumping the gun. At half way through, I don't know the plot, but I'm beginning to have my suspicions as to what's going on.
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Old 05-04-2021, 10:19 PM   #14
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I may not be able to start Daniel Deronda for four or five days. Yesterday a library book with a long wait list came available. It's long, but I am almost half way through. Looking forward to starting DD and joining the discussion.
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Old 05-05-2021, 12:11 AM   #15
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I may not be able to start Daniel Deronda for four or five days. Yesterday a library book with a long wait list came available. It's long, but I am almost half way through. Looking forward to starting DD and joining the discussion.
We don't officially start until the 15th, and it's designated as a simultaneous read/comment period until we move on to East Lynne by Mrs. Henry Wood on August 15. So you're good. I'm not going to be even close to finished by the 15th, I suspect, given that I'm listening to the book not reading it, and with this being the busy season in the garden, I'm not getting much knitting done -- my primary audio book scenario now that I no longer commute to work.
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