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The Egoist

3.63  ·  Rating Details  ·  981 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews present you this new edition. Comedy is a game played to throw reflections upon social life, and it deals with human nature in the drawing-room of civilized men and women, where we have no dust of the struggling outer world, no mire, no violent crashes, to make the correctness of the representation convincing. Credulity is not wooed through the impressionable s ...more
ebook, 831 pages
Published September 15th 2010 by Pubone.Info (first published 1879)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,891)
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John Fuller
Nov 07, 2014 John Fuller rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a fantastic story about Willoughby, a man who is so self-centered he never considers the possibility that other people are separate human beings. Dead-on portrayal of awful social situations (think Jane Austen). I laughed over and over at the awkwardness of Willoughby's bride-to-be, and the painfully clueless behavior of the Egoist himself.

One caveat, though : you gotta love Victorian novels to make it through this one. The Egoist contains some of the densest English I have ever read. (I
Dec 27, 2015 Issicratea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, 1800-1900
This is a fascinating literary curiosity: a late-Victorian novel (1879) with remarkable anticipations of modernism in some respects. I was reminded especially of Henry James, whose obliquities and curlicues of style Meredith can match like for like; though I could also see why Virginia Woolf admired Meredith’s novels and The Egoist in particular (she has a very nice essay on him in The Second Common Reader, written for the centenary of his birth in 1928.)

Meredith describes The Egoist on its titl
Jul 01, 2010 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Meredith, George. THE EGOIST. (1879; this ed. 1963). ****. Meredith was one of the authors on my guilt list. He’s one of the writers that I knew I should read, but never got round to doing so. This is probably one of his most famous novels, but it took me by surprise. I expected his writing to be like most of the other writing of time in England, but I was wrong. When I read the first chapter, I was totally conufused: It had nothing to do with the rest of the book. When I got to chapter 2, the s ...more
Aug 15, 2014 Emma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dense, ornate, tricksy, bewildering, erudite, mannered, humane and witty, this book is likely to either delight or exasperate its readers.

It is the story of Sir Willougby Patterne, a handsome and well-bred young man, and the women he courts, whose names belie their characters: Laetitia being anything but joyful, Constantia inconstant, and Clara not at all clear-headed, except when she perceives that the man to whom she has just become engaged is a monstrous and self-centered Egoist.

Much of the
Nell’introduzione al romanzo si dice che André Gide l’abbia definito uno dei libri più noiosi che abbia mai letto. Io non sono d’accordo, tant’è che mi sono divertita parecchio. Riconosco che vi sono alcune lungaggini e alcune situazioni che si ripetono più volte quasi immutate. Indubbiamente, un certo numero di pagine in meno e qualche taglio qua e là avrebbero giovato. Ma, in generale, è spassoso, arguto e molto moderno, considerando che la sua pubblicazione risale al 1879. Quindi, mi ha fatto ...more
Sarah Magdalene
Sep 22, 2011 Sarah Magdalene rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It’s quite sad that people always look eastward for enlightenment, when it can just as easily be found in our own native literature, if not for the sorry fact that ‘education’ makes people frightened of reading. Frightened of thinking in fact.

In any case, thinking about how lovely all the female characters are in The Egoist brought a little tear to my eye last night. It is a very lovely book. You end up loving them all, even the unbearable Egoist, who really just needs a sound thrashing from a c
Nov 05, 2014 Leonie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's hard to explain quite what's not especially readable about this book and why I liked it anyway. Meredith has a distinct, very mannered, dense, allusive style, which is kind of reminiscent of Oscar Wilde and Ivy Compton Burnett but is ultimately more obscure even than the latter. Sometimes this is okay and sometimes Meredith isn't saying anything interesting and is just tripping himself up.

The book is introduced as the comedy of the Egoist, Sir Willoughby Patterne, as he tries to get marrie
May 25, 2010 Yngvild rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humour
The Egoist is one of the strangest novels I have come across, a psychological analysis of a type particularly interesting because men like him often rise to positions of power in politics or commerce.

The novel would have been tedious, as well as confusing, if George Meredith had used the egoist as first person narrative. Instead, Meredith takes an oblique approach by viewing the egoist through the corners of other people’s eyes. There are problems with this approach, too, for the reader. The eg
Nov 10, 2013 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes 19th century authors and novels.
The Egoist might remind you of someone you know.
Sir Willoughby Patterne is self-centered, wealthy, unforgiving and worried about what people think. There are three women in his life and he plans to marry each one until he is dumped and then discovers a new one in the nick of time to save face. Sir. Willoughby can't make up his mind who will best set off his home and himself. It's all about appearances.
But this isn't at all a completely serious book. Enter Mrs. Mountstewart Jenkinson, a kind o
Susan Harter
Apr 09, 2008 Susan Harter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The opening essay on comedy is a little heavy, and sometimes his allusions are so erudite, obscure and dated I have no idea what he's talking about.

But putting all that aside this is a surprisingly modern story. A young, rich, beautiful woman finds herself engaged to a not-so-young, rich and beautiful man. Both are considered the catch of the county. But she soon realizes, though she can't quite name or understand it, that something is very very wrong with him. Her growing realization, both of h
A.k. Frailey
May 28, 2016 A.k. Frailey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a fascinating love story where the main character has to discern what love really means as she attempts to get out an engagement with a man who thinks he knows all about love. It makes one realize, we are sometimes not who we think we are...
Free download available at Project Gutenberg.

The audio version is available at LibriVox.
Last night I finished reading The Egoist by George Meredith. I have to say it took me quite awhile and several attempts to get through it. But for the past week, the last 300 pages or so I got sucked in and could barely put it down. It was a very witty look at the lives of men and women, and the problems between the sexes in upper class England in the 1850's. Very enjoyable in a Jane Austin, Oscar Wilde kind of way. It was impressive how wonderfully the female characters were treated, how they w ...more
Adam Floridia
Aug 02, 2008 Adam Floridia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
George Meredith's sentences are absolutely labyrinthine and took some getting used to (although, even at the end of the book I was rereading some passages to discern meaning). This made for a VERY slow read. What’s more, not a whole lot happens in the 400+ pages—Clara Middleton tries to disengage herself from Sir Willoughby. The story itself is a dry satire revolving around the (mock) epic battles that take place in aristocratic drawing rooms and dining rooms. Despite the seeming drawbacks, the ...more
D.j. Lang
Feb 18, 2013 D.j. Lang rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating this book is quite a challenge. There is a story in it worth reading; however, getting to the story may prove difficult for some readers -- Meredith spends (if I am remembering correctly) a whole two pages discussing a man's leg! When I first read this book back in the 70s for a class, there was some discussion about how we had to read books by 4th and 5th rated male writers, and women authors received little attention if they weren't an Austen, a Bronte, or an Eliot. Still, fifth rated o ...more
Christian Schwoerke
I had read this novel in my college days, as part of a tutorial on comedy. There was some vague recollection of its quality, and I re-read it last month with some anticipation of quietly chuckling. I didn't have that experience, and I wondered at my recollections; had I a better appreciation of the arch and precious writing then, was I simply awarding myself a recollection of pleasure for weathering the experience, or had I matured out of it, in the way one grows out of favor for the infantile p ...more
Sep 24, 2015 Qi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story is about how a young woman, betrothed to a dazzlingly perfect man, trying her best to escape. The constraints of her condition -- Victorian strict mores and conducts -- is still rather lame stuff compared to Jane Eyre. The conversations are occasionally sparkling, particularly that of Mrs Mountstuart, but the whole plot is a light comedy with infrequent dark materials woven in it (I am a bit weary of the angelic boy Crossjoy and the caricature of Dr. Middleton). The center of the stor ...more
Dara Salley
I was fully prepared to hate this book and after the first chapter or two I thought I might not be able to make it through. However, as I stuck with it, the book began to reveal its charms. It has some very insightful remarks about human relationships. I enjoyed the idea of using the concept of evolution as a backdrop for a comic drama. Some reviewers have referred to this as a feminist novel, but I don’t really see it that way. It shows a woman coming to the realization of what is entailed in m ...more
Mar 12, 2014 J.E. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book started slowly and was daunted by the 600 pages to come, but it soon got really interesting. The main character's name, Willoughby Patterne, is your clue that this is a comedy of manners. For a Victorian novel quite withering about humans and our foibles. Which lady will Sir Willoughby propose to, and what will happen if she refuses?
Josephine Ensign
Feb 07, 2015 Josephine Ensign rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Apart from some obscure and perhaps outdated (to me) 'Britishisms,' this was a rollicking fun read. I now understand why Virginia Woolf gushed over his writing. He is quite perceptive about human interactions, especially male-female and upper class-'other' class.
Jan 16, 2015 পাঠক rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Yes, this is it. The final installment of Tonight's worst books of all time and a really really ghastly 400 pages of anything that dared call itself a novel.
May 30, 2014 Letizia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Egoist left a deep twist in my heart how I see the vanity, power and egos of today's world. George Meredith captivated the characteristics of each cast!
Tom Leland
May 08, 2013 Tom Leland rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“We all know the Victorian writers, Dickens, Thackeray, George Eliot, Trollope, Hardy, even Gissing. But there is one, in his time as celebrated as any of them, who is forgotten. George Meredith was admired by his peers. Stevenson, for instance, said that he was ‘out and away the greatest force in English letters.’ He was commended by most critics, even while some complained of his difficulty. He had fervent readers. Yet now the literary departments hardly know his name…."

--Doris Lessing

This was
Duncan Holmes
May 25, 2015 Duncan Holmes is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: eng-lit
Initially almost unreadable, after the first couple of chapters this is thoroughly fascinating.
James Violand
Jul 02, 2014 James Violand rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one.
Shelves: own
It's hard to like a book whose protagonist is so unlikable. I did not care for this at all.
May 08, 2015 Rachel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 19th-century
A funny one, this. Parts of it struck me as very well observed, particularly for a Victorian male. But other parts were a bit incoherent, and by the end I was just waiting for it to stop.
PJ Ebbrell
If you like over written Victorian comedy of manners, then this is the book for you. 1870s when it was first written, more a museum piece than of general interest.
Feb 24, 2013 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary
Tough getting the hang of the prose, although the convoluted sentences are part of the satire of the book so they are supposed to be tough going. A 21st century sensibility would like a more concise book, but this is a trip back in time.

The basic trick is to imagine this as a Gilbert & Sullivan play without the music. I am sure Gilbert would have liked the idea of a father encouraging his daughter to wed a fellow with a good wine cellar.
Sep 15, 2009 Nick rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
About as good as a book can be without being recommendable to anybody. Interesting if you love Victorian romance or have a deep interest in the history of psychology in the late 19th century.

verrry tough read, took me weeks to get through. Meredith's satirical style actually makes him harder to read than his straight-forward contemporaries, imo.
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just some observations 1 5 Mar 07, 2013 11:52AM  
  • The Nether World
  • Maurice Guest
  • Ayala's Angel
  • The Echoing Grove
  • The Well-Beloved
  • The History of Henry Esmond, Esq.
  • Esther Waters
  • The Doctor's Wife
  • The Morgesons
  • Dover Beach and Other Poems
  • Nightmare Abbey; Crotchet Castle
  • The Heir Of Redclyffe
  • Miss Marjoribanks (Chronicles of Carlingford, #5)
George Meredith was an English novelist and poet during the Victorian era. He read law and was articled as a solicitor, but abandoned that profession for journalism and poetry shortly after marrying Mary Ellen Nicolls, a widowed daughter of Thomas Love Peacock, in 1849. He was twenty-one years old; she was thirty.

He collected his early writings, first published in periodicals, into Poems, which wa
More about George Meredith...

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“Cynicism is intellectual dandyism. ” 11 likes
“The capaciously strong in soul among women will ultimately detect an infinite grossness in the demand for purity infinite, spotless bloom. Earlier or later they see they have been victims of the singular Egoist, have worn a mask of ignorance to be named innocent, have turned themselves into market produce for his delight, and have really abandoned the commodity in ministering to the lust for it, suffered themselves to be dragged ages back in playing upon the fleshly innocence of happy accident to gratify his jealous greed of possession, when it should have been their task to set the soul above the fairest fortune and the gift of strength in women beyond ornamental whiteness. Are they not of nature warriors, like men?—men's mates to bear them heroes instead of puppets? But the devouring male Egoist prefers them as inanimate overwrought polished pure metal precious vessels, fresh from the hands of the artificer, for him to walk away with hugging, call all his own, drink of, and fill and drink of, and forget that he stole them.” 1 likes
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