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Daniel Deronda

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  18,881 Ratings  ·  719 Reviews
George Eliot’s final novel and her most ambitious work, Daniel Deronda contrasts the moral laxity of the British aristocracy with the dedicated fervor of Jewish nationalists. Crushed by a loveless marriage to the cruel and arrogant Grandcourt, Gwendolen Harleth seeks salvation in the deeply spiritual and altruistic Daniel Deronda. But Deronda, profoundly affected by the di ...more
Paperback, 796 pages
Published 2002 by Modern Library (first published 1876)
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Paul Driskill Consider checking out (if you haven't already) Louise Penner's "'Unmapped Country'": Uncovering Hidden Wounds in Daniel Deronda." I think there is a…moreConsider checking out (if you haven't already) Louise Penner's "'Unmapped Country'": Uncovering Hidden Wounds in Daniel Deronda." I think there is a valid argument to be made that there was some sort of abuse (physical or mental). The novel subtly creates a backstory for Gwendolen through a few marked clues (the hidden panels shocking her into fits of terror, the unconscious embodied). However, most of Gwendolen's backstory is told through present absences--as Deronda discovers his father, his heritage, his genaelogy, as readers we feel the absence of Gwendolen's father.

In terms of passages, consider the one in which the narrator says this: "Gwendolen, immediately thinking of the unlovable step-father whom she had been acquainted with the greater part of her life while her frocks were short" (Chapter III). (less)

Community Reviews

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This novel was renewed my interest on how George Eliot wrote. I am highly tempted to read more about her and approach literary evaluations of her writing, but before I do so I want to read Adam Bede and Silas Marner and may be reread The Mill on the Floss.

When I read Romola I considered GE’s cosmopolitanism and breath of knowledge. These elements are also present in Daniel Deronda but with an added edge. With Middlemarch it was the role of the narrator and the clear presence of the
I finished this book about a month ago and have been letting my thoughts first simmer and then actually almost get pushed onto the back burner as our summer holidays began. Once I decided to look over my notes, I realized that a review might be quite overwhelming. Furthermore, the book did not necessarily endear itself to me more over time as many typically do when I prepare to write down my impressions. On the other hand, I most certainly acknowledge that this was an important book and quite a ...more
(Re-read from June 07 to June 12, 2012)

I had forgotten what a hard work reading Daniel Deronda was. It has to be Eliot’s most challenging and overwhelming novel, yet such a great pleasure to read and re-read! It's enormously ambitious novel, broad in its scope, space, time and history. The setting itself is untypical of Eliot’s previous novels. It’s no longer the idyllic, provincial villages of Adam Bede or Middlemarch, but Daniel Deronda is set at the heart of cosmopolitan aristocracy of contem
Jan 18, 2011 Hadrian rated it really liked it
Shelves: british, fiction
This last novel by George Eliot is a psychological investigation into the question of identity and role. Identity concealed, identity as a role to be performed, identity as a prison. This is also the only written in Eliot's own time, instead of some decades previous. It asks difficult questions about the nature of class, race, and gender, and their understanding in contemporary society.

Upon this, there is a dimension of secularism and religious mysticism. The figure of Mordecai, infusing politic
While ostensibly the story of one Daniel Deronda, a young man of (we learn) unknown parentage, raised to be an educated Englishman of worth and standing, this novel is also the tale of Gwendolen Harleth, and how their lives intersect. We are introduced to both early on and see them off and on over time as they face changes within their families, their sense of self, their future.

This is my third Eliot novel. While I found some truly wonderful prose here, as I have found in the others I have rea
Kressel Housman
Now here’s a book that combines two of my very favorite things: classic British romance with – YES! – Jewish themes. Marian Evans a/k/a George Eliot even went to Frankfurt am Main to do research for the book – in the times of no less than Rav Samson Rafael Hirsch! I think I’ve found a thesis topic if I ever get to graduate school. Till then, though, I’ll have to content myself with this review. No major spoilers, but it is a pretty detailed plot summary, so if you want to be 100% safe, skip to t ...more
Aug 04, 2015 Teresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 rounded up to 4

This ambitious novel melds the stories of two very different characters, so perhaps it's appropriate that the novel itself is a strange hybrid with a little bit of a lot of what we expect from 19th-century British novelists: the sensational melodrama of Wilkie Collins; the perfection of 'good' characters a la Dickens, along with his humor and irony (though Eliot's is more subtle); the satire of marriage customs and the problem of moneymaking for females who are trained to be h
Mar 31, 2015 Sara rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics
3.5 stars-rounded up to 4

George Eliot’s tome, Daniel Deronda, was her last novel and it is anything but an easy read. Quite frequently when the narrative began to move and become quite interesting, Eliot would veer off into another direction and leave me champing at the bit to get back to the story.

Having recently read Middlemarch, I couldn’t help feeling that these characters were all pale and colorless next to those I had just left behind. The character, Daniel Deronda, was a particular puzzl
Sep 18, 2008 Charae rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favorite books. George Eliot probably has to be one of the best authors that I have ever read. Her psychological insight into each character is so amazing and her analysis of human nature is quite profound. Gwendolen Harleth, much as you despise her, is very vividly portrayed and there is an interesting reality in all of her words and actions. She is a revealing character and, though most people do not have her outright selfishness, yet I think most could relate to some of her ...more
BAM The Bibliomaniac
I've learned two things:

1. Briefly, I am Gwendolyn

2. I can never listen to a George Eliot novel again. I love her writing. She's so eloquent, but she's so verbose that I just zone out.

I'm DNF at chapter 56. I've decided I do not care what happens to any of these characters. I probably should have read the book.

2017 Reading Challenge: a book mentioned in another book
Dec 06, 2009 Anne rated it really liked it
Eliot is a master of characterization and uses this gift well in exploring two important themes in English society. The first and most unique is that of antisemitism in late 19th Century English life, as well as the beginnings of Zionism. The second theme is altruism vs. egotism. Too verbose at times, but otherwise a hugely ambitious and successful social novel.

4 1/2 stars.
Dec 29, 2014 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible
4.5 stars but I'm rounding up. This was not quite as good as Middlemarch but it was close. Gwendolen is an absolutely fascinating character. She drove me crazy at times but she was great.
Jan 17, 2013 Bruce rated it really liked it
I don’t know why I had never read George Eliot’s Daniel Deronda before, having read nearly all her other novels. This is a marvelous work, its great length permitting intricacy of plot and detailed examination of character. Published in 1876, it was Eliot’s last novel and her only novel taking place in contemporary Victorian society. It was also arguably one of her most controversial works. The plot is two-fold, one plot line involving traditional English class society and focusing on the life a ...more
Mar 13, 2012 Mark rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 03, 2017 Julie rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, 19th-century
This is probably one of the most frustrating books that I've had to review since coming to GR. I enjoyed it tremendously, in parts; and parts of it left me rather bored and wanting to put the book down. But for some reason, I couldn't ... and I persevered ... and I think I'm glad I did.

(view spoiler).

I say that only because wh
Grace Tjan
Feb 25, 2010 Grace Tjan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Eliot fans
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 08, 2016 Elaine rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio, 2016
I wrote my senior thesis on this novel, lo some quarter century ago. Listening to it on audiobook via my beloved Juliet Stevenson had a Flowers for Algernon quality. I know I once had very deep thoughts about the intersection of colonialism and feminism in this last and not least of Eliot's novels. I caught echoes of that this time around, and certainly Deronda's status as the chosen proto-Zionist (and a few choice passages on the comfortable status of the assimilated Jews in Germany) have the s ...more
Aug 29, 2006 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Literary Nuts
Shelves: england, classics, fiction
I found this book to be a fascinating portrayal of the Industrial Age in England and the emergence of the Zionist movement. A thought-provoking novel that provides a clear insight into an unusual era.
So a couple of years ago on . . . I dunno, PBS? BBC? I got hooked on a miniseries called Daniel Deronda, which was starring Hugh Dancy and Romola Garai (the reason why I tuned in) and based on a novel I had never heard of, by George Eliot, who I had heard of but never read anything by.


One is not expecting a story by an English lady authoress to suddenly delve into the plight of the Jewish people in Victorian England. One is not expecting mistresses and illegitimate ch
Aug 24, 2009 Pamela rated it it was amazing
Another novel it feels absurd to rate with stars.

What an exhilarating and delicious experience. The novel wasn't new to me, but it's been over 20 years since I last read it. How wonderful to be reintroduced to the complexities of Gwendolyn Harleth, the delicately tuned sadism of Henleigh Grandcourt, the benevolent conventionality of Sir Hugo Mallinger, the yearnings of Daniel Deronda. George Eliot allows everyone his or her humanity--even Grandcourt. I revere her for creating some of he most nua
Discussion is being held at the Victorians group.

This is the story of Daniel Deronda and his search for his true identify.

In this book Eliot show her best of style of writing: in the first two chapters, in a flashback point of view, Deronda met Gwendolyn at a Casino but she is forced to go home due to financial duties with her family. Apparently, a romantic relationship is established between these characters.

However, as the plot develops, one learns the true story of Daniel Deronda and his s
Andrea (Catsos Person) is a Compulsive eBook Hoarder
This is not a quick or easy read.

There are parts that I should have reread, but this is hard to do when reading an eBook, so I missed some things.

After reading Middlemarch I was disappointed in this book.

Though Gwendolen was an unlikable spoiled girl at the outset, I thought she was a more interesting character than the character Daniel himself. This was a serious flaw for me that a novel called
"Daniel Deronda" the eponymous character himself was upstaged by another character in terms of holdin
Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)
May 16, 2010 Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) by:
I have just finished a leisurely eight-week group-read of George Eliot's last completed novel, Daniel Deronda, with my 'Anglophiles Anonymous' group on I very much enjoyed the experience of reading and discussing the book, section by section, each week. I am convinced that I got so much more out of it this way than if I'd read it by myself. Without the incentive of the group-read, I am also quite sure that this is a novel that I probably would not have even acquired, much less read ...more
Not my normal story at all; I do tend to more light reading, thriller, adventure, but at times I do try to explore more challenging stories. This was definitely one of those. It's a true classic, well-written and intelligent. The story focusses on two main characters, Gwendolen Harleth, a selfish, young lady who thinks the world revolves around her and Daniel Deronda, a gentlemen, searching for himself. This search has many aspects, the simple one being trying to ascertain who his parents are as ...more
Oct 19, 2007 Michelle rated it liked it
Shelves: classics
This was no Middlemarch, but I do think it's amazing that I can still enjoy a book by an author who has been dead a little over 120 years. There were a few really great one-liners in there which show what a comic genius Eliot could be. There were also some beautiful sentiments about relationships and the constraints put on women during Eliot's time (seen at times in Gwendolen's character, but mostly in Daniel's mother).

My criticism of the novel was that Eliot spent a lot of time developing Gwend
Apr 05, 2014 Poiema rated it it was amazing
After closing the page on this long novel, it lingers on in my mind and I've been trying to digest it well enough so that I may do it justice in my review. It is a complex and elegantly written novel, almost prophetic in its day (1876)---just at the cusp of the Zionist movement.

The first chapter failed to engage me and I nearly aborted the read because of it, but that chapter would later fit like a puzzle piece into the big scheme of things. I am so glad I kept reading, because this is the work
Apr 04, 2014 Alexa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fab-15, summer-15
This is a tale of ethics, of the way in which one young woman is overwhelmed by, shaped by and re-imagines herself due to her collision with the force of nature which is Daniel Deronda, a young man facing his own ethical questions. What do we owe to our heritage, to our parents, to ourselves? This is also a novel that explores the early Zionist movement, yet is tainted by a strong thread of (unconscious?) anti-Semitism running through it. The tale is told with a persistent current of irony, whic ...more
Aug 27, 2007 Beth rated it liked it
Although not George Eliot's best work, Daniel Deronda is still worth reading. Eliot's attempt to explore Jewish mysticism is difficult to muddle through, even with copious footnotes. Her portrayal of Gwendolyn is far more compelling and complex than that of the saintly Deronda or the overly simplified Mirah. Frankly, I found myself wondering most at Gwendolyn's reliance on Deronda. She was a more interesting character when she was hopelessly flawed.
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تاريخ القراءة الأصلي : 1996
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Oct 24, 2010 Lizzie rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Lizzie by: Shannon
Of note: for someone who's my favorite author, I haven't 5-starred a George Eliot book since the first one that I read. Tough crowd, I guess. But tough books, too. And while I'll possibly never love anything as much as The Mill on the Floss, this book did incredible things and opened up dozens of doors in my mind.

What made it most incredible to me was the thematic currents that kept coming in doubles. I started keeping a list too late to remember everything I felt was there, but so many things i
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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
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“No evil dooms us hopelessly except the evil we love, and desire to continue in, and make no effort to escape from. ” 277 likes
“For what is love itself, for the one we love best? - an enfolding of immeasurable cares which yet are better than any joys outside our love.” 83 likes
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