George Eliot's first full-length novel, Adam Bede paints a powerful portrait of rural life, seduction, faith, and redemption. First published in 1859, this innovative novel carried its readers back sixty years to a time of impending change for England and the wider world. Eliot's penetrating portrayal of the interaction of ordinary people brought a new social realism to the novel, in which humor and tragedy co-exist, and fellow-feeling is the mainstay of human relationships. This is the first edition based on Eliot's final revision of the novel in 1861, using the definitive Clarendon text. It includes Eliot's journal entry on the real-life origins of the story and broadsheet accounts of Mary Voce, whose execution provided the germ of the novel. Carol Martin's superb Introduction sheds light on the novel's historical context and some of the main issues it explores: the role of work, class, and relations between the sexes, and Eliot's belief that the artist's duty is "the faithful representing of commonplace things." The book includes comprehensive notes that identify literary and historical allusions.
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Oxford University Press, Incorporated
March 29, 2001
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