3EliotHardyConrad - Most Victorian novels were long and...

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Most Victorian novels were long and closely wrought, full of intricate language, but the dominant feature of Victorian novels might be their verisimilitude, that is, their close representation to the real social life of the age. This social life was largely informed by the development of the emerging middle class and the manners and expectations of this class, as opposed to the aristocrat forms dominating previous ages. The novels of George Eliot , such as Middlemarch , were a milestone of literary realism , and are frequently held in the highest regard for their combination of high Victorian literary detail combined with an intellectual breadth that removes them from the narrow confines they often depict. An interest in rural matters and the changing social and economic situation of the countryside, is seen in the novels of Thomas Hardy and others. GEORGE ELIOT (1773-1849) (Mary Anne Evans) Father – farmer; thanks to her father’s important role in the estate, she was allowed access to the library in Arbury Hall, Warwickshire… Literary assessment Throughout her career, Eliot wrote with a politically astute pen. From Adam Bede to The Mill on the Floss and Silas Marner , Eliot presented the cases of social outsiders and small-town persecution. Felix Holt, the Radical and The Legend of Jubal were overtly political, and political crisis is at the heart of Middlemarch , in which she presents the stories of a number of denizens of a small English town on the eve of the Reform Bill of 1832; the novel is notable for its deep psychological insight and sophisticated character portraits. Readers in the Victorian era particularly praised her books for their depictions of rural society, for which she drew on her own early experiences, and she shared with Wordsworth the belief that there was much interest and importance in the mundane details of ordinary country lives. Eliot did not, however, confine herself to her bucolic roots. Romola , an historical novel set in late 15th century Florence and touching on the lives of several real persons such as the priest Girolamo Savonarola , displays her wider reading and interests. In The Spanish Gypsy , Eliot made a foray into verse, creating a work whose initial popularity has not endured. The religious elements in her fiction also owe much to her upbringing, with the experiences of Maggie Tulliver from The Mill on the Floss sharing many similarities with the young Mary Anne Evans's own development. When Silas Marner is persuaded that his alienation from the church means also his alienation from society, the author's life is again mirrored with her refusal to attend church. She was at her most autobiographical in Looking Backwards , part of her final printed work Impressions of Theophrastus Such . By the time of Daniel Deronda , Eliot's sales were falling off, and she faded from public view to some degree. This was not helped by the biography written by her husband after her death, which portrayed a wonderful,
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3EliotHardyConrad - Most Victorian novels were long and...

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