Daniel Deronda,* published in 1876, was George Eliot's last and most controversial novel. Eliot shocked readers and critics with a final novel whose portrayal of Judaism and Zionism continues to resonate.
The illegitimate son of a wealthy British aristocrat, Daniel harbors a secretive past and a ready supply of cash.
When he meets Gwendolen, a beautiful woman in desperate need of money, things get complicated, as he's already involved in a passionate relationship with a Jewish singer.
Gwendolen comes to regard Daniel as her moral and spiritual mentor, but chance, the revelation of his Jewish birth, and his practical and sympathetic identification with his race draw him away from her.
GEORGE ELIOT (1819-1880 was an English novelist, journalist, translator and one of the leading writers of the Victorian era. She was born Mary Anne Evans, and adopted her male nom de plume so that her works would be taken seriously at a time when women were supposed to write only of “lighthearted” subjects. She is the author of seven novels, including Adam Bede, The Mill on the Floss, Silas Marner, Middlemarch, and Daniel Deronda, most of them set in provincial England and known for their observational wit, psychological insight and dramatic realism.
*Number 28 on The Guardian’s list of the 100 greatest novels of all time.