EBOOK or PDF Felix Holt: The Radical ´ George Eliot
Towards the end of this long but intensely interesting narrative the reader is told exactly how much time has passed since the first of the many events of the story The narrator sounded surprised at how brief a period it had been and I was surprised too because I d been reading this book for uite a while and I d come to associate it with the passing of a considerable period of time That was partly due to the many events that occurred in my own life while I d been reading about Felix Holt s life but also to the fact that I d read two books by Ali Smith in the meantime Felix Holt had had to wait calmly in the background while I helterskeltered through Smith s Autumn and WinterThe contrast between Smith s twenty first century urban Britain and the rural world of George Eliot s 19th century Loamshire couldn t be stark at first lance but it has occurred to me on finishing Felix Holt that it and Ali Smith s Seasonal series are not so very different after all One of the key events in Eliot s novel concerns the election of a candidate to parliament This was a time before universal suffrage so only the small number of men who owned land or property had votes However election agents often roused Varney S Study Guide For Midwifery great mobs of landless people to demonstrate in favour of a particular candidate In this way people with no vote managed to have an influence on the outcome of elections The mobs might have had only the barest notions about the candidate s policies but inflamed by free drink and scurrilous handbills circulated by the election agents they could make such a clamor in support of the agent s favourite and against the opposition that they could sway the course of the votingAli Smith s Seasonal series touches on a voting issue too the referendum that resulted in Britain leaving the European Union Though every adult citizen in Britain now has a vote it could be argued that many of the voters had only a partial understanding of what they were voting for and were manipulated by the twenty first century euivalent of the election agent and their clever use of media We have come a long way from handbills and free drinks but people are still as open to influence from misleading headlines as ever they were Election results are still controlled by smallroups of powerful peopleThe other overlap between this Eliot novel and the Smith books concerns the role of women in the narrative Readers who are familiar with Ali Smith know that her main characters are invariably woman but making the main character a woman is not a iven in the case of George Eliot She has several books in which the main focus is on a male character Silas Marner for example and Adam Bede and Daniel Deronda But while this book is named after a male character Eliot s story is predominantly about a female character Esther Lyon Felix Holt is essential to the plot but it is Esther who makes the key choices and decisions that influence all the outcomes There are two other important characters in this novel the parliamentary candidate Harold Transome and his mother the doyenne of Transome Court Harold strides through the book as if he owns it but it is his mother who holds the controls of his life His decisions become meaningless in the face of hersWe know that in the mid nineteenth century women even if they owned land or property didn t have the right to vote and that they had little power over their own lives Husbands were chosen for them by their fathers and everything thereafter was chosen by their husbands or eventually by their sons George Eliot presents us here with two rare cases of women who refuse to let fathers husbands or sons decide for them for better or for worse Very enjoyable story was further enhanced by Nadia May s superb rendition of it for Blackstone AudioAudioBookStand This was my husband s introduction to George Eliot and I m lad it was a mostly cheerful even humorous novel as her works can be dark Mrs Holt Felix s mother is a hoot and May has captured her perfectly Highly recommended especially in the audio format review later Ugh Double Ugh I struggled with this almost from the beginning and frankly wish I d abandoned it before I ot far *enough that I felt I had too much invested in it to do so Eliot kept oing off on *that I felt I had too much invested in it to do so Eliot kept I Will Not Die An Unlived Life Reclaiming Purpose And Passion going off on Sometimes my mind would wander and I d read passages again just to make sure I hadn t missed anything And I hadn t Not all of the tangents were of the religious nor even the political sort The below was understandable than many butives you a Funding Clean Water glimpse Keep in mind that not one character ever plays chess there is never any suggestion of a match Fancy what aame at chess would be if all the chessmen had passions and intellects or less small and cunning if you were not only uncertain about your adversary s men but a little uncertain about your own if your knight could shuffle himself on to a new suare by the sly if your bishop in disgust at your castling could wheedle your pawns out of their places and if your pawns hating you because they are pawns could make away from their appointed posts that you might et checkmate on a sudden You might be the longest headed of deductive reasoners and yet you might be beaten by your own pawns You would be especially likely to be beat if you depended arrogantly on your mathematical imagination and regarded your passionate pieces with contemptI found the characterizations to be mostly one dimensional and the plot to be fairly predictable Remember I m the one who doesn t know what will happen next Read others by George Eliot Read this only if you insist on reading her entire oeurvre Felix others by George Eliot Read this only if you insist on reading her entire oeurvre Felix 1866 is not the best loved of George Eliot s novels and in some ways it s easy to see why The male protagonist the earnest idealist Felix Holt is too idealized himself to be a truly compelling character and the tale of his moral conversion of the beautiful and worldly Esther Lyon may be a little too pious and pedagogical for most modern readers The plot has its creaks as well rather sometimes lurching perilously close to the model of the Victorian sensation novel la Wilkie Collins in respect both of melodramatic subject matter and of narrative devices There are coincidences here at which even Collins would raise an eyebrowDespite these criticisms there is plenty to enjoy in Felix Holt The narrative is set 45 starsOne of the least read of Eliot s novels sitting in the middle of her output I found it had a surprising resonance for today It was published in 1866 but was set in the time of the Great Reform Act in 1832 when the vote was extended not by much the electorate increasing from about 500000 to just over 800000 As Eliot was writing the Second Reform Act was being promulgated The landed classes and aristocracy were bringing on board some of the wealthier middle classesThe plot centres around an election in a Midlands town in 1832 probably modelled on Eliot s home town Nuneaton the riot in the book is very like the one in Nuneaton in 1832 The voices of the Tory side are as you would predict On the other side is Harold Transome a wealthy landowner just returned from abroad a widower with a son He returns to find his estate is causing some concern and shocks his mother and friends by announcing he is standing as a Radical Felix Holt is an educated but poor Radical who has also returned from journeying in Scotland to stay with his mother and work as a watch repairer Meanwhile the Rev Rufus Lyon a dissenting minister and his step daughter Esther make up the other main protagonists There develops a sort of legal and electoral thriller with some twists relating to birth and inheritance and a significant riot on Election Day Inevitably there is a love triangle involving Esther Felix and Transome and Eliot wo. As in all of George Eliot's best work every class of society is included in this portrait of political ferment and
George Eliot ↠ 6 CharactersH ideas of femininity education of women and the duties that children have for their parents I ve always lauded the way Eliot s writing has a feminist tone for the Victorian period in which she lived and by all accounts Mary Ann Evans was a pretty spectacular woman Nevertheless Esther demonstrates some of the limits of Eliot s endorsement of women s liberation On one hand Eliot mocks those women around Treby who look down on Esther for being over educated for a preacher s daughter and for putting on airs On the other she uses Felix as a foil for Esther s ego and high opinion of herself after a single meeting Esther becomes desperate to prove to Felix at every turn that she can be humble and be open to being lead by a man ie him in matters of substance Eliot places Esther in a role complementary to the men in her life she must support and aid her ageing father be led by the man she chooses as a husband and nurture the children in her charge whether it s as a mother or a teacher In this respect while Eliot is uick to call out the double standards that adversely affect women s uality of life she is not uite ready to tear down conventional ender rolesFelix Holt culminates in an election a riot a trial and shenanigans over estate ownership It all ends in tears and then a wedding and finally a happily ever after for most involved The winds of change are evident throughout the novel but the ending seems to assure us that all will Structured Exercises For Promoting Family And Group Strengths A Handbook For Group Leaders Trainers Educators Counselors And Therapists go on as it largely was before the rich will be rich the poor will be poor and there will be Tories and Whigs and the occasional Radical doing whatever it is men of means do in Parliament while your average worker drinks and works the mines This is not therefore that radical of a book But Eliot manages to deliver an amazing story full of intrigue backstabbing characters who are all out for themselvesI picked an excellent time to read this as well And I don t just mean because Thanksgiving Saturday was unseasonably pleasant and I could read this outside while listening to the new Florence the Machine album No I mean that in Canada we re a week away from a federal election The campaigning in this book reminded me of the lengthy campaigning happening here Eliot s coverage of the Reform Act is a potent reminder that we are lucky we have the right to vote and by we I don t just mean land owning white men While I completely understand why some people are discouraged by our political system and don t believe their vote will count I m still disappointed when someone I know shrugs off the idea that they should vote It is a duty and it is not one we should take forranted considering that some of us have had it for less than a century And it s certainly in the interests of the people in power to keep you from voting particularly if you are young or poor or from a minority Run Run Run group and interested in expressing your opinionsThis might sound trite but one of the most radical things you can do as a Canadian on October 19 is vote Go do itAnd theno read Felix Holt It s far from my favourite Eliot novel but it shows the beginnings of all the skill and ability with character and setting that makes her one of my favourite authors Eliot manages to convey a sense of entirety that microcosm of the human experience she is not overly cynical or overly optimistic she simply shows what is and what might be I once read an essay about the objections to women s suffrage One argument that anti suffrage activists made was that voting was a proxy for fighting men will wage war over political power but they can save blood and energy by taking a vote allowing the larger army to win without the smaller one having to die Very civilised noWomen should not be allowed the vote because women don t fight imagine if there was a vote in which women all voted one way and men all voted the other What exactly would prevent the men from doing what they wanted anyway safe in the knowledge that women couldn t stop themNow I suspect that you and I can poke some holes in that argument but Felix Holt The Radical does have some scenes that wonderfully illustrate the pugillistic nature of early voting Voters had to et up on platform to declare their vote publicly surrounded by the drunken mob with their employer and landlord looking on sternly Some men crept in to vote early before the crowd had had time to row big and rowdy One character wrapped all his limbs in flannel put on three coats and went to vote like in flannel put on three coats and went to vote like michellin man Another fell into the hands of the crowd and was so befuddled by everyone screaming the names of their preferred candidates in his ear that he accidentally blurted out the wrong name on the stage In the end the crowd Jewish Guided Imagery A How To Book For Rabbis Educators And Group Leaders got completely over excited and went off on a riot with disastrous conseuences for all the characters in the bookBut that s by the by The election is the event that the plot hangs on but it s not really the point The meat of the story is Esther Lyon s romantic choice between fake snobby radical Harold Transome and literally perfect human being radical Felix Holt Incidentally for reasons only tangentially related to the text I imagine Felix Holt to look alot like Jamie Fraser So on one level Esther s dilemma is the standard dilemma of every trashy YA romantic subplot Oh no Which of these two men will I choose It s so tough being loved by two men Poor me And Esther s dilemma is not the only part of the book that seems weirdly trashy to me There s also the mysterious matter of Esther s parentage apparently love of velvet cushions is aene And the mysterious matter of that other uestion of parentage which resolves itself with a very satisfying level of melodrama What I m saying is this is my first ever George Eliot novel and I was not expecting this level of Wilkie Collins I like it I was just surprisedAnyway Esther s dilemma it s not a spoiler to say that she picks the right Red Scotland The Rise And Decline Of The Scottish Radical Left 1880s 1930s guy which is to say theood Final Stamp The Jewish Doctors In The Warsaw Ghetto guy because the interesting part is Eliot s exuisite fine lined depiction of each character their thoughts failings virtues and reasoning Each of them is completely plausible even as they walk this somewhat clich d path and don t we all As if our own loves and marriages were somehow wildly originalI was especially touched by Harold Transome s vague realisation that he might ve been a better man that Esther might ve made him a better man I felt an awful pang for him when he learnt The Terrible Secret because it s the sort of secret that s shocking for a Victorian and irrelevant for us so his struggle to behave honourably upon learning the truth is doubly poignant I felt terribly sorry for Mrs Transome for her rather tragic life and for the painful way that her tragedy was born entirely of her own actions her own character and her own beliefs And Esther who struggles with herself to discern substance from appearance this was an especiallyood depiction of youth and the mingled pride folly idealism na vety wilfullness Photographers Essential Field Techniques good intentions bad temptations and basically everything thatoes into being young and trying to make Satellite Communications good decisions while simulataneously learning how to makeood decisionsAnd finally Felix who is perfect but still a pretty well drawn perfection OK so this is my first ever Eliot so bare with me It s New Year s Day and I find myself in an Air BnB Of course I m ashamed of myself but willing I find myself in an Air BnB Of course I m ashamed of myself but willing admit my faults or the faults of poverty in Budapest and my wife wants to o to lunch so I ll uickly sketch out a few thoughts I went back n forth a bit pleasure wise with this novel I love Victorian novels intricate plotting and the dialogic clashing of characters so those aspects pleased me very much Eliot is obviously a star in the form and all of these aspects are classic features of novels of the pe. Men's lives are as thoroughly blended with each other as the air they breathe; evil spreads as necessarily as disea. Rks it all out in an interesting way All the lawyers are corrupt and self serving and true to type The working class characters are a little less convincingThere are some interesting lines of thought Eliot looks at the situation of older women in the form of Mrs Transome and Mrs Holt the mothers of the male protagonists Both feel helpless in the face of their strong minded sons who barely tolerate them Contrast the very sympathetic relationship between Esther and her father Rev Lyon Another major theme is of course political change and the book often in the form of Holt asks difficult uestions Does the electorate always et things right That brings us straight to the US and UK today The political landscape in the novel is out of joint and all are aware of it and there is a No Bath But Plenty Of Bubbles An Oral History Of The Gay Liberation Front 1970 73 good deal of anger at therassroots level often without direction Holt himself is not arguing for extending the franchise he believes in aining power for the working class by building a movement from the bottom based on education Partial change at the top was no change Holt of course was right as there was now a larger electorate to bribe so you had to be even richer to enter politicsOf course there is a love story oing on but I was much interested in the parallels with Trump and Brexit I commented in relation to John Updike s Terrorist that a sentence of 157 words was the nail in its coff I make no secret of the fact that I think George Eliot is a literary badass and Felix Holt The Radical is just the latest example of these well deserved credentials This is essentially a political and legal thriller set in 1832 England on the cusp of the passage of the First Reform Act Among other things the Reform Acts of the 1800s redefined the electoral districts for the English Parliament and expanded the franchise ever so slightly The sleepy English town of Treby finds itself the centre of political action during the latest election campaign Harold Transome returns home after fifteen years abroad and decides to run as the Radical candidate much to the surprise of his Tory family Meanwhile in typical Eliot fashion the Felix Holt doesn t show up for the first fifty pages of his own book Despite Transome and Holt s self declared Radicalism the two butt heads and soon it s obvious neither really embodies the label they ve chosen Meanwhile a dastardly lawyer plots possible revenge against Transome and it all hinges on the uestion of paternity and inheritance of a preacher s daughterYou hooked yet Because I know that the language in novels like this can be an obstacle to enjoying them Eliot is a fan of lengthy sentences and even longer paragraphs Her description belabours points until they become entire discourses her dialogue is of a series of speeches fired back and forth like broadside salvos With this style however comes a consummate ability to draw out the most intricate descriptions of human foibles and fragility We see this uite early in Eliot s portrayal of the ageing Mrs Transome and later when we delve into Esther s motivations for obsessing over the strange and somewhat offensive Mr Holt Unlike modern thrillers which tend to sacrifice depth of character for depth of field in the action Felix Holt is a character driven thriller in which Eliot asks how our upbringing Copper gender and political convictions influence the choices we make and how far we willo to Anne Of Green Gables Stories For Young Readers get what we wantFirst we have Harold Transome He comes back home after living in the East mostly Smyrna where he had a wife who since died and a kid whom he mostly ignores in thatreat fashion of the English Touch The Bunny gentility Like many a man convinced of his competence he essentially swoops down on Transome Court like the North Wind we re doing things the Harold Transome way and if you don t like it then tough He engages the Transomes lawyer Jermyn as his election agent even while plotting to remove Jermyn at the most convenient opportunity He ignores his mother and the tough time she s been having of keeping up the estate but that s mostly because Transome ignores women ineneral finding the weaker sex useless for everything except stroking his ego and likely stroking well you know what I meanTransome runs as the Radical candidate for this district I never completely understood why he was oing for Parliament except perhaps because he felt it was the prestigious thing to completely understood why he was oing for Parliament except perhaps because he felt it was the
Prestigious Thing To He Certainlything to He certainly evokes a sense of statesmanship Although he Sunday For Sona good naturedly and naively attempts to put a stop to the rabble rousing activities Jermyn s minion engages in on Transome s behalf Transome does not in and of himself spend much time espousing Radical views His political allegiance seems a reaction against the stagnant Toryism of the countryside than any conviction that England needs to changeIuess the most redeeming thing we can say about Transome is that he s not a total dick When he learns that Esther has legal claim to Transome Court his first reaction is not to conceal the news but actually tell her and then kind of sort of attempt to court her in the hopes he can keep the estate this way Now the cynical would point out he s just pre empting the uncomfortable disclosure from Jermyn and he obviously talks himself into loving Esther instead of harbouring true feelings for her And there is something to that But Transome is not a villain so much as an opportunistic upper middle class businessman ranted the distinction between these two labels is not always clearWhereas Transome considers himself a man of the world "in a uite literal sense and almost condescends to bring himself down to the worker s level Felix Holt is uite "a uite literal sense and almost condescends to bring himself down to the worker s level Felix Holt is uite of his poverty He looks down on the rich in a moral sense Like Transome he identifies as a Radical but doesn t necessarily embody that philosophy he in fact discourages workers from etting it into their heads that they need to vote to effect political change Holt wants everyone to behave nicely in the hopes that this will persuade the people in charge to be nicer in return In her Address to the Working Man included as an appendix to this edition Eliot writes in Holt s voice and explains that expanding the franchise to uneducated workers would be a bad idea right now because it would encourage a kind of ignorant populism that would pull the country downAnd so Felix Holt is fascinating because it is not actually a very radical novel At the time Eliot was writing it of course those in favour of Reform were seen as uite radical people and then you had the unions and later the people advocating for secret ballots But if anything this novel shows that Eliot is herself calling only for Lotta Jansdotter S Simple Sewing Patterns And How To For 24 Fresh And Easy Projects gradual change She doesn t want workers to have the right to vote until they also have the education she feels is necessary for them to vote properly I find this paradox fascinating because in some ways she has hit on the crucial point franchise is noood if the people enfranchised have little knowledge on which to base a decision Simply Broken Trail guaranteeing everyone over 18 the right to vote is not enough then we are obligated to provide civic education and in this respect I don t think our presentovernment does nearly enoughSo Holt then is the common man who nevertheless acts as a voice of caution He is continually trying to apply the brakes as seen in his foolish and ill fated attempt to curb the rioting on election day It sometimes seems like Eliot focuses less on him than on any other main character Nevertheless his role as titular character is deserved because he ties all the other characters together He interacts with everyone else subtly shaping the nature of the conversation It is the not uite love triangle among Holt Esther and Transome that precipitates the novel s conclusionIn Esther we see Eliot wrestle wit. Orrupt electioneering in a small Midland borough in 1832 At the heart of the novel is George Eliot's conviction that. .