Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Lifted Veil” as Want to Read:
The Lifted Veil
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Lifted Veil

3.4  ·  Rating Details ·  1,554 Ratings  ·  150 Reviews
Horror was my familiar.

Published the same year as her first novel, Adam Bede, this overlooked work displays the gifts for which George Eliot would become famous—gritty realism, psychological insight, and idealistic moralizing. It is unique from all her other writing, however, in that it represents the only time she ever used a first-person narrator, and it is the only tim
Paperback, 75 pages
Published October 1st 2007 by Melville House (first published July 1859)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Lifted Veil, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Lifted Veil

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Lynne King
And she made me believe that she loved me. Without every quitting her tone of badinage and playful superiority, she intoxicated me with the sense that I was necessary to her, that she was never at ease, unless I was near to her, submitting to her playful tyranny. It costs a woman so little effort to besot us in this way!

George Eliot’s (born Mary Anne Evans) imagination cannot be faulted at all throughout this gem of a novella. It is a tour de force captured in a mere seventy-five pages.

Feb 27, 2016 Paul rated it really liked it
Shelves: victorian-novels
Quite an oddity for Eliot; a novella that can be read in one sitting and a first person narrator. It also has a distinct gothic edge and feels in the tradition of Mary Shelley and Poe. The themes are not so much supernatural as pseudo-scientific. It concerns the narrator Latimer who believes himself to have extra sensory powers; the ability to see the future and read the thoughts of others. There’s also a spot of mesmerism and the idea that a blood transfusion on death may temporarily raise some ...more
César Lasso
Mar 28, 2015 César Lasso rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: brit-lit
Una novelita o nouvelle que se puede leer de una sentada, y mi primer contacto con la autora victoriana George Eliot. La he leído en traducción española, de la que existen al menos dos versiones con ligera variación en el título. El texto original inglés se puede obtener de forma gratuita, en formato Epub o Kindle, en The Project Gutenberg.

La obra se deja leer y, en algún momento, me ha recordado vagamente a una obra maestra posterior en tres décadas: El retrato de Dorian Gray. Quizás, lo que me
Sep 10, 2009 Werner rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of 19th century fiction
Shelves: science-fiction
This book won't be every reader's cup of tea. As the above description suggests, its subject matter was atypical for Eliot --though she wrote it in 1859, her publishers found it so different from her usual work that they delayed printing it until 1878. Premised as it is on psychic phenomena --flashes of telepathy and precognition, which in Eliot's day were just beginning to attract the attention of some intellectuals, and of the public (the titular "veil" is the one that hides the future)-- I wo ...more
Ron Nie
Dec 09, 2014 Ron Nie rated it really liked it
This is a short novella about Latimer, a man who has premonitions that eventually exile him from humanity. Whether this is all a self fulfilling prophecy is one of the implicit questions of this wonky little story, but what interested me was how it relates to Eliot's work as a whole. She's so often the queen of narrative omniscience - she can dip into character's minds, represent how they think and feel, then fly away, untouched, because her narrator persona is unaffected. It's as though in this ...more
May 16, 2016 Lanie rated it liked it
An unhappy man, who believes he knows exactly when and how he will die, tells his story.

When I started this story it bored me. The main character, the narrator, seems lost in self pity. His life has been hard, right from the beginning, it's not his fault, and he's going to have an extended moan about it. He philosophises about life, death and fate, it's terribly depressing.

However, as the story continued I became more caught up in it, more interested in how it would work out.

In the end it was
Mar 02, 2013 Nikki rated it liked it
I haven’t read much of George Eliot’s work at all, which I should probably be more ashamed of. Still, a friend passed this and Brother Jacob on to me after she was done with it back at university, and I finally got round to actually reading it. I was surprised to find that it’s a supernatural story, in a way, dealing with clairvoyance — and not just as a societal trend, but one character truly is clairvoyant. I didn’t think Eliot wrote anything speculative like that at all, which is probably my ...more
Apr 16, 2013 Amy rated it it was ok
Shelves: librivox
Oh man. What an odd departure for Eliot. It's especially striking to me since I'm currently in the middle of Middlemarch. I like gothic fantasy, but this was almost impossible to enjoy because I imagined the narrator smelled of sour milk and had runny eyes even as a young man. Ugh. Anyway, he's a sickly, pale clairvoyant who falls for the only woman whose mind he cannot penetrate. Sound familiar? My head hurts.

Librivox, thank you for making it possible for me to get through this kind of story i
Maan Kawas
Feb 17, 2014 Maan Kawas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful novella and a dark fantasy that reflects George Eliot’s interest in the contemporary science in her Victorian age, especially in physiology, mesmerism, and phrenology. It, also, shows Eliot’s attempt to the Victorian horror fiction, which is not similar to her other realistic fiction. However, the novella includes many important points and themes, such as the sympathy and lack of sympathy in human relationships, fear of the inevitable death (the unknown) and acceptance of the difficu ...more
Mar 27, 2015 Meg rated it really liked it
Un bellissimo racconto noir, che fa a meno delle tipiche tinte fosche e delle scene forti .
I personaggi della vicenda sono delineati magnificamente attraverso le loro sensazioni e emozioni. In particolare, apprezzo moltissimo Latimer, con la sua sensibilità fuori dal comune e il suo tono disilluso.
Christian Paula
Jan 02, 2016 Christian Paula rated it liked it
What a strange story. Unreliable narrator, an experiment gone wrong, an exile both necessary and not. In the lead up to reading Middlemarch, I wanted a small sample, but The Lifted Veil may not be it.
Jan 26, 2015 Aleece rated it it was ok
It pains me to give George Eliot two stars.
Jan 23, 2017 Brian rated it it was amazing
A novella not to be missed. Deliciously disconcerting and gloomy!
Oct 15, 2016 Helena rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
You can read my review here:

3 stars
Oct 17, 2013 Louis rated it liked it
I read this book for a book club, whose meeting I ended up unable to attend. I wish that I had been able to attend because this book certainly invites discussion.

The plot involves the narrator, Latimer, who suddenly develops selective foresight of future events, as well as being able to hear the inner thoughts of others. Bertha, the woman he is attracted to, is the one person whose thoughts he cannot read until he marries her. The entire tale is narrated as the author lies dying.

It is not the p
Renee M
May 25, 2014 Renee M rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I like Gothic literature and I like George Eliot, but this novella fell flat for me. A true novelty for Eliot but in subject (supernatural) and style (1st person narrative). It's a fun little read for the purpose of seeing a great author exploring for her element, before she found her true calling.
Karen Book-Vixen
Feb 19, 2016 Karen Book-Vixen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
Death is something that Victorian people were obsessed about. When this short story was written the Victorian people were in crisis about their faith after discoveries were made to contradict everything they believed.

The story is very dark melodramatic and suited this time frame. Narrator foretells his own death, and his journey through life up to that point.
Jul 05, 2009 Nan rated it it was ok
I was surprised to come across this little known novella. I'd never heard of it. After reading it, I know why. It is very bleak. The main character is perpetually sad and unsympathetic. The premise was promising, but the book failed to reach the potential.
Tammy Frederici
Feb 25, 2015 Tammy Frederici rated it it was ok
I will now lower the veil on this novella, silently and most painfully. Not her usual style of writing, thankfully.
Sep 07, 2009 Adam rated it liked it
Shelves: hypnagogia
This early Eliot novella is a curiosity, a surprising foray into Edgar Allan Poe territory. And it is both more readable than much of Poe's work and less inventive.
Feb 07, 2016 Neri. rated it did not like it
Honestly, I have no clue why many people love this book because for me this book felt like an 18th century persons fever dream.
Maximilian Nightingale
On a scale from Austin to Bronte, this one is definitely a Bronte. It even reminded me of Lovecraft a bit. It is very different in tone and attitude from either Mill on the Floss or Middlemarch, though it does share a theme with the latter: the unfortunate consequences of intelligence. Eliot is as good as anywhere at conveying the emotional drama in the characters, but unlike her major novels, it's hard to sympathize with anyone very much.

An added bonus in the Penguin Little Black Classics editi
Dec 23, 2016 Lisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Well, didn't she pull a trick on us. The character is highly unlikeable and so pitiful that I was completely unable to pity him - sickly and with a poet's disposition only without the talent for expression. He sets his sight on a girl, the only person around him whose soul is hidden to him and therefore, it follows, the only desirable soul. This in spite of having seen the most miserable vision of his and hers future. But he is both fatalistic and selfish, wanting instant gratification. So, alth ...more
Feb 17, 2017 James rated it really liked it
While very different than the other of Eliot's novels I have read, this novel has an appeal for my interest in science fiction and fantasy. It is interesting to discover that George Eliot participated in the genre that includes Mary Shelley and other Victorian authors.
The story is one that is clearly shaped by George Eliot's interest in contemporary science, including physiology, phrenology, and mesmerism It engages the reader with suggestions of the work of specific research into experiments on
Feb 21, 2017 Jeremy rated it really liked it
Despite the miserable narrator and cast of unlikable characters, Eliot's novella is propeled by suspense and a ripe language bursting with accentuation and colour. It's like admiring a Caravaggio painting.
Nov 13, 2016 Aaron rated it really liked it
A novella in the tradition of Victorian Gothic writing - perhaps not spine-tingling, but creepy enough. Suspenseful and insightful of human psychology; with themes of extrasensory perception, fate, and the mysteries of life and death. Has enticed desire to read more George Eliot.
Suzanne Walker
Dec 14, 2016 Suzanne Walker rated it it was amazing
Stop trying to finish Middlemarch. Set your copy of Romola on fire. Read this. Totally creepy and weird and compelling.
Oct 20, 2016 K8 rated it it was ok
It is an interesting idea, but didn't leave an impression on me.
Jan 07, 2017 Gregg rated it really liked it
Eliot's single foray into first person suspense/supernatural fiction isn't her strongest work, but it's got elements of what made her legacy so enduring: scandal, empathy, morality and good old-fashioned storytelling.
Nov 18, 2009 Kirsti rated it liked it
Recommends it for: neurasthenics, Trent Reznor, people who wear leather and vinyl in ninety-degree weather
Plotwise, this is not that much more complicated than an episode of Murder, She Wrote. But the prose style is gorgeous, and I felt all swoony and doomy while reading it, and that's a perfectly good feeling to have on rainy November days.

Some of my favorite passages:

The city looked so thirsty that the broad river seemed to me a sheet of metal; and the blackened statues, as I passed under their blank gaze, along the unending bridge, with their ancient garments and their saintly crowns, seemed to m
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Lesson of the Master
  • The Nice Old Man and the Pretty Girl
  • My Life
  • The Distracted Preacher
  • The Lemoine Affair
  • The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg
  • Freya of the Seven Isles
  • The Duel
  • The Duel
  • Sanctuary
  • Phoebe Junior (Chronicles of Carlingford, #6)
  • Aurora Floyd
  • The Squabble
  • Marriage
  • For Love Alone
  • A Simple Heart
  • The Law and the Lady
  • May Day
In 1819, novelist George Eliot (nee Mary Ann Evans), was born at a farmstead in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England, where her father was estate manager. Mary Ann, the youngest child and a favorite of her father's, received a good education for a young woman of her day. Influenced by a favorite governess, she became a religious evangelical as an adolescent. Her first published work was a religious poe ...more
More about George Eliot...

Share This Book

“We learn words by rote, but not their meaning; that must be paid for with our life-blood, and printed in the subtle fibres of our nerves.” 26 likes
“I have never fully unbosomed myself to any human being; I have never been encouraged to trust much in the sympathy of my fellow men. But we have all a chance of meeting with some pity, some tenderness, some charity, when we are dead: it is the living only who cannot be forgiven - the living only from whom men's indulgence and reverence are held off, like the rain by the hard east wind. While the heart beats, bruise it - it is your only opportunity; while the eye can still turn towards you with moist, timid entreaty, freeze it with an icy unanswering gaze; while the ear, that delicate messenger to the inmost sanctuary of the soul, can still take in the tones of kindness, put it off with hard civility, or sneering compliment, or envious affectation of indifference; while the creative brain can still throb with the sense of injustice, with the yearning for brotherly recognition - make haste - oppress it with your ill-considered judgements, your trivial comparisons, your careless misrepresentations. The heart will by and by be still - ubi saeoa indignatio ulterius cor lacerate nequit; the eye will cease to entreat; the ear will be deaf; the brain will have ceased from all wants as well as from all work. Then your charitable speeches may find vent; then you may remember and pity the toil and the struggle and the failure; then you may give due honour to the work achieved; then you may find extenuation for errors, and may consent to bury them ("The Lifted Veil")” 12 likes
More quotes…