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Daniel Deronda

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  12,579 ratings  ·  512 reviews
As Daniel Deronda opens, Gwendolen Harleth is poised at the roulette-table, prepared to throw away her family fortune. She is observed by Daniel Deronda, a young man groomed in the finest tradition of the English upper-classes. And while Gwendolen loses everything and becomes trapped in an oppressive marriage, Deronda's fortunes take a different turn. After a dramatic enco ...more
Published 1998 by BBC Radio Collection (first published January 1st 1876)
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(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
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
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
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.
Aug 29, 2006 Elizabeth rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Literary Nuts
Shelves: classics, fiction, england
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.
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
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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
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
Grace Tjan
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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.
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
Christopher H.
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
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
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
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A long read - not to be undetaken if you like modern prose that never goes off on a tangent or lets you in on the author's musings. But it drew me in; the characters are well drawn and you can't help sympathising with Gwendolen even though she's also a bit unlikeable. Mirah seems too good to be true on the other hand. The book shows the great contrasts in lifestyle, hopes and expectations between those with money and those without in Victorian England; and in particular, how hard it was for wome ...more
Laurel Hicks
George Eliot's last novel does not quite ring true to me. Was she being too ambitious with her mix of characters and themes? It just does not seem to all work together. I plan to watch the BBC Andrew Davies video next to see what he makes of it.

I liked it quite a bit more after my second reading.
Ben Babcock
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I love George Eliot's books for two reasons: (1) her stellar writing, and (2) her memorable characters. This book lacks both. Strange way to end an otherwise excellent career.

I'm not sure what Eliot was trying to accomplish with Daniel Deronda. While I understand her desire to defy the stereotype of Jewish culture in Victorian Britain, I think she was trying too hard. In fact, I think the Jewish theme of this book was Eliot's only real focus, and she created cardboard characters under the guise
Yuck! I usually enjoy reading Eliot's work but this one should be burned. The title character appears briefly in the beginning and then disappears for a minimum of 100 pages. The paragraphs are long, tedious, and don't seem to relate to anything, so much so that I found myself drifting while in the midst of them and then having to re-read what was so dull in the first place! I made it to page 240 when I decided to skip to the 'good parts' and at least get an ending for what I had put myself ...m ...more
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
George Eliot a Zionist? That's more than surprising: it's almost as amazing as the fact that she seems to have come to her Zionism by way of the Kabbalah. Like Eliot's earlier novels, this, her last work of fiction, is filled with gentle yet sharply ironic observations and a sublimely lofty sense of the potential of extraordinary individuals. The moral education of an egotistical English beauty runs parallel with the self-discovery of an English gentleman who serves as her spiritual lodestar, pa ...more
This book was interestingly tedious. I wanted to see what happened to the characters, but Eliot spent so much time telling (at length) and then showing (briefly) that I couldn't help but think that the story could be told as effectively in about 1/4 the number of pages.

Gwendolyn is not a very sympathetic heroine. Her marriage to Grandcourt seems a harsh punishment for her abrupt and snobbish rejection of Rex. On the other hand, her obsession with Deronda seems an extreme repayment for his mild
V.r. Christensen
Daniel Deronda is perhaps my favourite book of all time. When I first read it, I wasn't sure what I thought of it. Elliot weaves the tale, as she designed to do, so that the reader is not quite certain of his loyalties. We root for Daniel, of course, but which of the women in his life do we wish for him to choose? In the end, of course, he chooses the more deserving of the two. And yet, do we not find ourselves rooting for that which society, in that day and age, would have chosen for him? Are w ...more
Khadijah Qamar
Spoilers ahead:

It's been quite a journey to get through Eliot's Daniel Deronda. Not only is it long, but Eliot's writing can be a bit challenging. She's full of allusions to art, opera, and poetry and quite often she dwells in vague, third-person asides that are supposed to enhance the "feeling" of the situation, but usually end in making it more complex. These add to the richness of the novel, but also make it a slower read.

What strikes the reader most in this novel are the characters, particu
What is so curious about this book is the opposing narratives between Gwendolyn and Daniel. It is like a book sliced in half between its Gwendolyn's Gothic elements and Daniel's "new" quest. So cut in half is the narrative, that in Israel the book is only published with Daniel's chapters. No one notices? or no one cares? Strange it is also as a work of Victorian literature centering around Jews. Usually the usurperous shopkeeper or the evil begger, Jews are suddenly people who are just trying to ...more
Daniel Deronda is the rare male protagonist who is self-aware, mature, and searching. He's probably the most admirable male character I've read in a novel. But Eliot doesn't just write about saints; a lead female character, for example, undergoes a brilliantly described, painful learning curve as she comes becomes acquainted with Daniel and comes to understand that his motives are far superior to hers.
I understand the George Eliot's Daniel Deronda had at least some intention of being satirical. Gwendolyn Harleth is a very charming and beautiful young woman. She might be eminently sympathetic except for her suffocating arrogance. She patronises her mother, despises her younger sisters, and excels in everything except noticing other people.
Gwendolyn meets her comeuppance in the person of Henleigh Mallinger Grandcourt. But her torment is so savage, it's impossible not to feel compassion for the
Ralph Emerson said, "I cannot remember the books I've read any more than the meals I've eaten; even so, they have made me." As the years go by, I'll probably forget most of the characters and George Eliot's insights. But I've felt as I've read this book that the influence of her title character has improved me in some inarticulable way.
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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
More about George Eliot...
Middlemarch Silas Marner The Mill on the Floss Adam Bede Romola

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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. ” 203 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.” 70 likes
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