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Adam Bede

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  22,883 ratings  ·  906 reviews
Paperback, Modern Library Classics Paperback Edition, 624 pages
Published April 9th 2002 by Modern Library (first published 1859)
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Tim Regan Look next to "My Activity" and you should see a link called "edit...". If you click on that you'll see where to write your review. (N.B. It amazes me …moreLook next to "My Activity" and you should see a link called "edit...". If you click on that you'll see where to write your review. (N.B. It amazes me that goodreads is so popular when, despite being owned by Amazon, the site is so poorly designed and difficult to use.)(less)
Marie Currently listening to an audio and the reader is TERRIBLE! The reader can definitely make or break a book and this one is killing it. I've listened t…moreCurrently listening to an audio and the reader is TERRIBLE! The reader can definitely make or break a book and this one is killing it. I've listened to Eliot's books before and loved them, but like I said, the reader is massacring this one for me. (less)

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Average rating 3.79  · 
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Reader, I ask you, what can be better than a long book full of good sentences?

That was a rhetorical question, of course—I think there is nothing better than good sentences following one on another, and this book is full of them.
But Adam Bede also offers that extra ingredient readers generally can't resist: intrigue.

The intrigue is centered on the curious nature of the rules of attraction, which is no surprise as variations on the classic love triangle often feature in George Eliot's books. Ho
That feeling when you close a very, very good novel after taking a lot of time to read it slowly, over shifting seasons, moods and circumstances.

The feeling of having lived among the characters, suffered with them, fought against the inevitable developments, trying to force the words on the pages to change to avoid the fates that can't be avoided.

That feeling of accomplishment when the epilogue gives deep satisfaction, a better love than the rushed first impression of the early pages.

George El
So. This is an old story and terribly familiar(view spoiler), I'm not sure if it is wise to say anything about the plot, perhaps the plot is incidental, it certainly can't be separated from its setting.

This was the first time I have read this novel, it was almost a year ago that I readThe Mill on the Floss and it was so long ago that I read Middlemarch that perhaps it is almost as though I had never read it. However in com
Barry Pierce
The fact that George Eliot called this novel Adam Bede and not Hetty Sorrel proves that there is no justice in this world.

The novel itself, Eliot’s first, is a fairly quaint pastoral romance. Everyone’s in love with the wrong person. You get the picture. The plot doesn’t really wear the novel’s weight well. It just about breaches 600 pages and there is absolutely no need - no need.

It’s a pity that Adam Bede is such a meh tale, considering that for the novel Eliot invented a character as complex
Aug 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1800-1900, reviewed
Adam Bede (1859) was George Eliot’s first novel, preceded only by her short fiction collection, Scenes of Clerical Life. The novel was recognized as a masterpiece from the start. The Times review stated that “the author takes rank among the masters of the craft” and describes “him” as possessing “genius of the highest order.” Elizabeth Gaskell, with North and South already behind her, mournfully noted in a letter that “I have a feeling that it is not worth while trying to write when there are su ...more
Oct 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I believe this may be the most beautiful book I have ever read. I felt both uplifted and emotionally drained when I finished. The tragedy and the great beauty of George Eliot's writing! I didn't read this edition, mine was much older, but the introduction of my edition quoted Charles Dickens as saying that reading Adam Bede was an epoch in his life, and Alexandre Dumas called it the masterpiece of the century. I'm happy to agree with them. Most people say that Middlemarch is George Eliot's maste ...more
Apr 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Because I was rereading David Copperfield during some of the time I was reading this, I couldn’t help but compare the characters (and situations) of one book to the other: for example, the extremes between the adorable Dora/Hetty and the angelic Agnes/Dinah. And though I know Eliot had reservations about Dickens’ works, I see how she extends -- into realism -- a character like David Copperfield’s Emily.

Also interesting to me is that an arguably sensational theme of Adam Bede is an important the
Skylar Burris
Dec 23, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics
Adam Bede is a story about love, self-deception, religious feeling, innocence, and experience. It would not be an unfit introduction to Eliot, though Middlemarch is by far her superior novel. I am awed by Eliot's psychological insight into human personality. Her characters are some of the most vivid in all of literary history, and her ability to penetrate to the very heart of human motivation is unrivaled. She presents her story with wit and subtle sarcasm. (Take, for instance, this tongue-in-ch ...more
George Eliot’s masterpiece is Middlemarch, but Adam Bede has always been my favorite Eliot novel. I’m not sure why this is. It might be because Bede was the first Eliot book I read. I doubt this, however, because the first Austen book I read was Pride and Prejudice, but my favorite Austen book is Persuasion. I understand why Middlemarch is a masterpiece, yet I find myself agreeing with Dumas pere in considering Bede to be the “masterpiece of the century”.

I first read Bede after watching the firs
Katie Lumsden
Aug 31, 2017 rated it liked it
Possibly 3.5.
I found the premise and some aspects of the book fascinating, and the second half very gripping - but as I often find with George Eliot, I found it more interesting than enjoyable, and the pacing, especially at the ending, wasn't quite right for me. Nonetheless, I'm looking forward to reading more George Eliot in future.
Daniel Villines
Mar 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Adam Bede is a nineteenth century English novel with the typical abundance of words. Every scene is written to its fullest content resulting in paragraphs that span pages. There are no exceptions: settings, dialogue, and feelings are each covered extensively. They make for a relaxing novel because incrementally not much happens during each reading session, and to be fair, I enjoy a relaxing novel every now and again.

The novel’s uniqueness stems from its setting and characters. The story takes pl
Feb 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It would be a poor result of all our anguish and our wrestling if we won nothing but our old selves at the end of it—if we could return to the same blind loves, the same self-confident blame, the same light thoughts of human suffering, the same frivolous gossip over blighted human lives, the same feeble sense of that Unknown towards which we have sent forth irrepressible cries in our loneliness.
Adam Bede, George Eliot's first novel and second published work, is just as brilliant a novel as t
John Anthony
Dec 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Reading this reminded me of the long running radio soap, The Archers. That started around 70 years ago I think, whereas this novel is set at the end of the 18th century/ beginning of the 19th.

The title character is a handsome hunk of a man who ticks all the right boxes for George Eliot and the rest of us – womankind and mankind. As well as being a looker he’s intelligent, honourable and interesting. But, like the best of us, he demonstrates the old adage that love is blind.

This is a book to lose
Aug 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Adam Bede is a polished and delicately painted debut novel . George Eliot published Silas Marner and the Mill on the Floss in each of the next two years. How amazing! Adam Bede predates Hardy's Tess of D' Ubervilles by over 30 years and honestly, I found Eliot's novel more suspenseful and brutal. Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

The setting, 1798, bucolic England peopled with dozens of individuals from every walk of life. At first this town is like the Garden of Eden with meaningful employment for everyone. Adam, of course,
Apr 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I'm a lifelong George Eliot fan, so it's strange that I just never got to Adam Bede before now. I suppose I was afraid it would fall short of Eliot's masterpieces, Middlemarch and Daniel Deronda, or even Mill on the Floss and Silas Marner. Adam Bede is in fact an "early" book; one senses Eliot working toward her greatest powers. The pacing can be a bit slow at times; Eliot juggles fewer narrative threads than she does later in her career; and there is a slight sensationalism in the focus on the ...more
Adam Bede is similar to Tess of the D'Uberville's in it's basic premise; an innocent and unspecting maiden falls prey to the desires of a wealthy aristocrat thwarting the love and good intentions of a proud and honorble hero. Of course Adam Bede was written 32 years prior to Tess. Adam Bede is one of my favorite's of the great classic novels.
Feb 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I took my time with this book. First, it was to enjoy Eliot's near-cinematic writing style in the beginning of the novel as she laid out the world and characters of "Adam Bede". Then, I read slowly to slow down the arrival of the inevitable fall from paradise. But Eliot handled it beautifully complete with cliffhangers that saw me, at one dramatic chapter, drop the book, throw my arm over my eyes and gasp for breath. You'll know where when you read it. Please do, Adam Bede's world seems bucolic ...more
Nov 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Myla by: Mel Bennett aka Daddy-O
I loved this book! It was just a mellow fun story to read nothing riviting me to my seat and then all of a sudden I was dying! I have never in my life been completely torn; I couldn't stop reading because I had to know what would happen at the same time I had to stop reading because I was afraid to see what would happen. Never in my life have I seriously considered flipping to the back of the book to see how it ends, and I am not a spoiler of plots. Not to be cliche but I laughed and cried and.. ...more
Natalie (CuriousReader)
Oct 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
At first, a quiet unassuming story about village life where Adam Bede and his brother Seth, a preacher woman named Dinah, a naive pretty girl named Hetty and other distinct characters live. We are slowly introduced to each family and their lots in life as well as their troubles, further we see how they all interact and build the network of the village as a whole. But while it takes a while for this story to get moving, when it does it is filled with love drama and tragedy, and some comedy too. C ...more
Feb 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
100% engaging. This is one of those books that you feel more human for having read.

What the plot may lack in scope, the writing makes up for tenfold with tender and true insights into pain, hope, vanity and prosaic life. It's a true, true, true book, that beats with an honest heart. You get to love the narrator in the very fact that the narrator is open about her love for the characters. this book is a treasure, in all its homely ruggedness and sometimes shocking, but inevitable events. It's not
Simona B
Oct 16, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-english, 1800
I think I have read somewhere Dinah Morris is also known as That Irksome Character...
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bam cooks the books ;-)
#2015 Reading Challenge--Week 15: A popular author's first book.

This is truly one of the best books I've ever read. Granted it is not an easy read, being filled with local dialect and dense, complicated sentence structure, but it is SO worth the reader's time and effort. Eliot develops the scene and characters slowly in the first 300 pages, transporting the reader to the English countryside of 1799 where some of the most fully-fleshed characters of English literature come to life.

It is in the
Mattia Ravasi
Oct 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Though not especially fast nor overly thrilling, Adam Bede is a beautiful insight into a crucial moment in British history - and into the human condition in general - all inserted in the frame of a beautiful, surprisingly entertaining story.
Karl H.
Feb 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
Reading George Eliot’s Adam Bede, I found myself reminded of Norman Rockwell paintings, with their impeccable technique and saccharine kitschy everyday subjects of the not so distant past. Like a Norman Rockwell of the 19th century, Eliot smiles at most of her subjects and makes us long to return to the good old days, even if she pokes a bit of sly fun at their expense from time to time. But nostalgia is not a lens through which we see clearly, and this Norman Rockwell portrait of a community mi ...more
“…our sorrow lives in us as an indestructible force, only changing its form, as forces do, and passing from pain into sympathy—the one poor word which includes all our best insight and our best love.”

In this novel, George Eliot gives us Hayslope, a village peopled with contrary types: young and old, earnest and frivolous, the ill-fated and those that struggle to good fortune. Heroes and villains of male and female persuasions are in the mix, and their interactions bring us the novel’s tragic plo
Sep 16, 2012 rated it liked it
It may be heresy (why is it always heresy to dislike a "classic" when a book's status as a classic mainly stems from its age?), but I'm not particularly fond of George Eliot. Granted, I read her books when I was rather younger, but I found her tone too moralistic and prescriptive, and the political overtones too strident. Adam Bede is perhaps one of my least favourite of the books of hers that I have read. We have our overly prim, proper, and holier-than-thou protagonists, Adam Bede and Dinah Mo ...more
Dov Zeller
May 08, 2016 rated it liked it
I wrote a pretty long review comparing Eliot's Bede to Summer by Wharton, so if you want to see that, check out my Summer review. The books have a lot of similarities but also they are very different. Summer is much shorter, and focused on the female protagonist. Bede is long and Adam Bede is the central character, though we do get some chapters with the narration focused on Hetty Sorrel.

One thing I loved in Bede is the relationships between parents and guardians and their children...Bede has an
Jul 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Absolutely loved this novel. I am certain I will read this again and again throughout my lifetime.

The first three hundred pages (pre-Hetty's travails) were perfect; I was disappointed when the wonderfully center-less scope narrowed its focus on the events of Hetty's escape.

This novel really raised the bar for me w/r/t character development: even the most minor (and superficially unlikeable) of characters has an interior world as expansive and dynamic as any galaxy, full of prejudices, doubts, pr
Michelle Bacon

At some points this story drug on and I found myself losing interest. Then an interesting thing happened with a not so likable character and the story kinda took off. Hetty, I am not a fan. I think a lot of this story could have been left out because I didn't see the point, but it was overall enjoyable.
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Mary Ann Evans, known by her pen name George Eliot, was an English novelist, poet, journalist, translator and one of the leading writers of the Victorian era. She was born in 1819 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 ...more

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