“It is never too late to be what you might have been": Rare First Edition Set of the complete works of George Eliot

  • Complete Set of George Eliot First Editions.

Complete Set of George Eliot First Editions.


Item Number: 2652

Edinburgh & London: William Blackwood/ Smith, Elder and Co., 1858-85..

First editions of each George Eliot work. Octavo, 30 volumes. 19th century full brown calf, elaborately gilt-decorated spines. All edges gilt. A very nice complete set of first editions.

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. The roots of her realist philosophy can be found in her review of John Ruskin's Modern Painters in Westminster Review in 1856. 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. Middlemarch, has been described as the greatest novel in the English language by Martin Amis and by Julian Barnes.

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