This novel uses the hero, Deronda, to come to terms with the English Jews, a society-within-a-society. The book's heroine, Gwendolen Harleth, marries for power rather than love, uncovering a vein in human relations that could lead, through the best intentions, to despair.
Combining humour, rich symbolism and pointed social criticism, this is an unsentimental, yet affectionate portrait of rural life. Its protagonist, a man wrongly accused and exiled is given a chance to achieve true happiness through his care of an orphaned girl.
Describing the silliness and 'feminine fatuity' of many popular books by lady novelists, George Eliot perfectly skewers the formulaic yet bestselling works that dominated her time, with their loveably flawed heroines. She also examines the great women writers of France and their enrichment of the culture, and the varying qualities of literary translations.
GREAT IDEAS. Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves - and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives - and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization and helped make us who we are;