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Daniel Deronda

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  21,754 ratings  ·  858 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
Paperback, Penguin Classics, 850 pages
Published February 1st 1995 by Penguin Books (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)
Paul Of Gwendolen submits to a yoke totally of her own making (the guilt and shame of knowingly marrying Grandcourt for his money and in spite of the fact…moreGwendolen submits to a yoke totally of her own making (the guilt and shame of knowingly marrying Grandcourt for his money and in spite of the fact that she also knew he already had a "wife" and kids). Gwendolen's selfish motives are her pride and sense of justice for having broken her promise to Mrs Glasher not to marry Grandcourt. (less)

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I watched a TV adaptation recently of Andrea Levy's Small Island, a book I had read when it first came out but which I'd more or less forgotten. The adaptation succeeded very well, and might even have been better than the book. The characters were very credible and their words and actions explained their circumstances perfectly. But there was a voiceover which I thought was unnecessary since the faces of the actors were very expressive and the dialogues filled in any missing background informati ...more


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
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
Helene Jeppesen
Dec 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was one of those long stories that in the end were worth a read. I have previously read “Middlemarch” by George Eliot, but in many ways I find “Daniel Deronda” to be a different story that is interesting in many ways.
Our main character, Gwendolen, is quite a character. She’s selfish, attention-seeking and frivolous, and in many ways she actually reminded me of Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone with the Wind”. I liked reading about her a lot - especially because she does change throughout the narrat
Jan 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Roman Clodia
May 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Oh dear, I was supposed to be rereading this over a couple of months with a book group... but it's so darn gripping even on a second read that I've ended up rushing ahead and finishing it due to the proverbial 'couldn't put it down'...

My original review is below but on this reread I was struck by the extent to which Eliot seems to be setting up sections that duplicate well-known literary scenarios: the section where Grandcourt leases the 'great house' and sets off marital expectations and plans
Jan 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics, read-2019
(Thursday) It may take me a while to review this - I am en route to Scotland for a walking weekend and in any case I'm not sure anything I say can do it justice.

(Sunday) Daniel Deronda is Eliot's last novel, and I have wanted to read it ever since reading Sophie and the Sybil by Patricia Duncker a couple of years ago. In that book Duncker reimagined the circumstances that led Eliot to create the book, and Sophie has much in common with the wilful and impulsive Gwendolen Harleth, one of Eliot's t
Aug 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This ambitious novel melds the stories of two very different characters, so perhaps it's appropriate that the novel itself seems a hybrid of 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 helpless, reminiscent of th ...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


Ebook reread
Nope it wasn't the audio version. This really is the worst Eliot novel I've read. So many pages for so little
Mar 31, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Daniel Deronda centres around several characters. It relates to an intersection of Jewish and Gentile society in 19th century England. With references to Kaballah, Jewish identity and the return of the Jews to the Land of Israel. Gwendolen Harleth a spoiled but poised and spirited of a family of recently impoverished English gentry enters into a loveless marriage for money, with the cold Mr Grandcourt., but soon sickens of his emotional sadism. The novel centres around Gwendolen as much as it do ...more
Sep 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Czarny Pies
Jan 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: George Eliot fans with lots of time on their hands.
Shelves: english-lit
Despite its wildly excessive length and several bone-jarring plot twists, Daniel Deronda should please the majority of those who enjoyed Middlemarch. It succeeds in three areas. First, it tells how a frivolous, air-headed young woman acquires moral depth and wisdom. Second, it comments brilliantly on the institution of the "nephew", i.e. the young person raised by a male who denies being his father. Third it contains a superb discussion on what was the very new idea at the time the novel was pub ...more
Jan 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british, 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
Dec 06, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 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.
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
Mar 13, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A lengthy novel and one that takes some patience. There are four main characters depicted not solely the title character as I originally thought, Each character has a distinct bearing on the story. This is a novel of self discovery, knowledge, growth and prejudice.

A number of lesser characters in support but each carefully crafted to enhance the story. Many reviews already on offer to give a more concise synopsis.

Read the free edition which was remarkably free of errors. Well worth the time spen
Grace Tjan
Feb 25, 2010 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.
Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)
May 16, 2010 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
Apr 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jan 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Literary Nuts
Shelves: fiction, england, classics
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.
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Reading the Chunk...: Daniel Deronda:Chapters 62-70 25 15 May 15, 2019 10:00AM  
Reading the Chunk...: Daniel Deronda: chapters 53-61 10 14 Apr 07, 2019 06:57PM  
Reading the Chunk...: * Daniel Deronda - Chapters 1-7 46 27 Apr 03, 2019 04:44PM  
Reading the Chunk...: * Daniel Deronda - Chapters 15-20 16 15 Apr 03, 2019 02:19PM  
Reading the Chunk...: Daniel Deronda- Chapters 48-52 7 11 Apr 03, 2019 11:16AM  
Reading the Chunk...: Daniel Deronda: chapters 42-47 10 11 Apr 03, 2019 11:14AM  
Reading the Chunk...: Daniel Deronda- Chapters 33-36 9 12 Apr 03, 2019 07:34AM  

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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
“No evil dooms us hopelessly except the evil we love, and desire to continue in, and make no effort to escape from. ” 312 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.” 88 likes
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