Felix Holt : The Radical Paperback
by George Eliot
Edited by Lynda Mugglestone
When the young nobleman Harold Transome returns to England from the colonies with a self-made fortune, he scandalizes the town of Treby Magna with his decision to stand for Parliament as a Radical.
But, after the idealistic Felix Holt also returns to the town, the difference between Harold's opportunistic values and Holt's profound beliefs becomes apparent.
Forthright, brusque and driven by a firm desire to educate the working-class, Felix is at first viewed with suspicion by many, including the elegant but vain Esther Lyon, the daughter of the local clergyman.
As she discovers, however, his blunt words conceal both passion and deep integrity.
Soon the romantic and over-refined Esther finds herself overwhelmed by a heart-wrenching decision: whether to choose the wealthy Transome as a husband, or the impoverished but honest Felix Holt.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 592 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
- Publication Date: 25/05/1995
- Category: Classic fiction (pre c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780140434354
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Review by Roseredlee
A deliciously funny mediation on the potentially damaging effects of taking novel romances too seriously, published in 1750 - an important topic even today, as far too many of us search in vain for Mr. Rochester, Heathcliff or any number of tall, dark and handsome Mills and Boon heroes. Apart from the fact that Lennox, who was encouraged by Dr. Johnson and Richardson, is an excellent writer, this is a very interesting book from the point of view of the history of women, showing the dangers of the lack of activities for intelligent women. The delightful heroine, Arabella, who as Margaret Anne Doody points out in her excellent and thought-provoking introduction, actually manages to exert her will very successfully while she is under the influence of French romances, eventually comes to accept her cousin's proposal, and despite his faithfulness through most embarrassing scenes, we cannot help but feel that her future life will be diminished. So - perhaps it is better to live in the imagination, after all!