Felix Holt, The Radical

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Broadview Press, Mar 30, 2000 - Fiction - 573 pages

When William Blackwood, George Eliot’s publisher, first saw the manuscript of Felix Holt in 1866 he could not contain his enthusiasm; in a letter to a friend he described the novel as “a perfect marvel. The time is 1832 just after the passing of the Reform Bill, and surely such a...series of pictures of English Life, manners, and conversation never was drawn. You see and hear the people speaking. Every individual character stands out a distinct figure.”

A political radical and a child of the working class, Felix has lost faith in a political system in which candidates never represent the interests of the working class. Harold Transome, the cynical son of wealthy Tory landowners, embraces radical politics for very different reasons. Both Harold and Felix vie for the affections of Esther Lyon, and she must weigh her feelings for them with the social and material goals she has set for herself. Their personal drama unfolds against the broad canvas of social and political upheaval of 1830s England.

This edition is based on the text of the first edition of the novel published in three volumes in 1866, and includes a full introduction, a wide range of appendices including reviews, as well as Eliot’s “Address to Working Men, by Felix Holt”; “The Legal Plot of Felix Holt”; and a chronology of Eliot’s life and career.

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User Review  - starbox - LibraryThing

*5 writing; maybe *4 plotline, which is a tale of love, politics, religion, unexpected heirs and illegitimacy. In North Loamshire, the election (a violent affair, full of bribery and threats) is about ... Read full review

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Felix Holt is a surprising triumph for Eliot. For the first time, she engages fully with some of the deeper socio-political issues of her day and age. The plot is almost Dickensian in the amount of ... Read full review

Selected pages


A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Text
Felix Holt The Radical
The Legal Plot of Felix Holt The Radical
Address to Working Men by Felix Holt
The Natural History of German Life
The Critical Response to Felix Holt The Radical
Select Bibliography

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About the author (2000)

William Baker at Northern Illinois University, has edited George Henry Lewes’s and George Eliot’s letters.

Kenneth Womack at Penn State Altoona, has written widely on British and American literature.

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