The Jewish Odyssey of George Eliot

This book examines why a woman who was firmly labeled an unbeliever would take up the cause of Judaism and its promise of nationhood and statehood.

The Jewish Odyssey of George Eliot

The Jewish Odyssey of George Eliot

It is one of the curiosities of history that the most remarkable novel about Jews and Judaism, predicting the establishment of the Jewish state, should have been written in 1876 by a non-Jew – a Victorian woman and a formidable intellectual, who is generally regarded as one of the greatest of English novelists. And it is still more curious that Daniel Deronda, George Eliot’s last novel, should have been dismissed, by many of her admirers at the time and by some critics since, as something of an anomaly, an inexplicable and unfortunate turn in her life and work. Yet Eliot herself was passionately committed to that novel, having prepared herself for it by an extraordinary feat of scholarly research in five languages (including Hebrew), exploring the ancient, medieval, and modern sources of Jewish history. Three years later, to reenforce that commitment, she wrote an essay, the very last of her writing, reaffirming the heritage of the Jewish “nation” and the desirability of a Jewish state – this well before the founders of Zionism had conceived of that mission. Why did this Victorian novelist, born a Christian and an early convert to agnosticism, write a book so respectful of Judaism and so prescient about Zionism? And why at a time when there were no pogroms or persecutions to provoke her? What was the general conception of the “Jewish question,” and how did Eliot reinterpret that “question,” for her time as well as ours? Gertrude Himmelfarb, a leading Victorian scholar, has undertaken to unravel the mysteries of Daniel Deronda. And the mysteries of Eliot herself: a novelist who deliberately wrote a book she knew would bewilder many of her readers, a distinguished woman who opposed the enfranchisement of women, a moralist who flouted the most venerable of marital conventions – above all, the author of a novel that is still an inspiration or provocation to readers and critics alike.

More Books:

The Jewish Odyssey of George Eliot
Language: en
Pages: 180
Authors: Gertrude Himmelfarb
Categories: Literary Criticism
Type: BOOK - Published: 2009 - Publisher: Encounter Books

It is one of the curiosities of history that the most remarkable novel about Jews and Judaism, predicting the establishment of the Jewish state, should have been written in 1876 by a non-Jew – a Victorian woman and a formidable intellectual, who is generally regarded as one of the greatest
Land and Literature in a Cosmopolitan Age
Language: en
Pages: 320
Authors: Vincent P. Pecora
Categories: Literary Criticism
Type: BOOK - Published: 2020-02 - Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

European culture after the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 was no stranger to ancient beliefs in an organic, religiously sanctioned, and aesthetically pleasing relationship to the land. The many resonances of this relationship form a more or less coherent whole, in which the supposed cosmopolitanism of the modern age is belied
Genius & Anxiety
Language: en
Pages: 464
Authors: Norman Lebrecht
Categories: Biography & Autobiography
Type: BOOK - Published: 2020-12-08 - Publisher: Scribner

This lively chronicle of the years 1847­–1947—the century when the Jewish people changed how we see the world—is “[a] thrilling and tragic history…especially good on the ironies and chain-reaction intimacies that make a people and a past” (The Wall Street Journal). In a hundred-year period, a handful of men and
The People of the Book
Language: en
Pages: 183
Authors: Gertrude Himmelfarb
Categories: History
Type: BOOK - Published: 2011 - Publisher: Encounter Books

The history of Judaism has for too long been dominated by the theme of antisemitism, reducing Judaism to the recurrent saga of persecution and the struggle for survival. The history of philosemitism provides a corrective to that abysmal view, a reminder of the venerable religion and people that have been
The New Criterion
Language: en
Pages:
Authors: Gertrude Himmelfarb
Categories: Arts
Type: BOOK - Published: 2009 - Publisher:

Books about The New Criterion

Popular All Time

Hemingway's Paris
World Travel
A Walk in the Woods
Travels with Charley in Search of America
The Outlaw Ocean
Leave Only Footprints
Our Towns
The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook
Rick Steves Europe Through the Back Door
Blue Highways
DK Eyewitness Southwest USA and National Parks
Bounder
Ultralight
A Book of Migrations
Belize Travel Guide
Around India in 80 Trains
Explorer's Guide Baltimore, Annapolis & The Chesapeake Bay: A Great Destination
Moon Oaxaca