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For any true connoisseur of life's ironies, there can be few finer than the fact that the radical Mary Ann Evans (George Eliot) is chiefly remembered for this completely traditional and eminently conservative tale.  We needn't rehearse the elements of the story in detail because virtually every English speaking youth on the planet reads it in school.  Just to jog your memory, Silas Marner is a devoutly religious weaver who is unjustly accused of theft.  He moves to Raveloe where he becomes fairly reclusive both because he wishes it so and because the villagers find him odd.  He devotes himself to the accumulation of wealth, but is once again devastated, this time when he is the victim of theft.  Ultimately he is redeemed by a young girl who wanders up to his door.  He raises the child and they come to love one another as Father and Daughter.  The lesson being that neither religious fanaticism nor the love of filthy lucre will suffice to save a man's soul, but the basic love between two humans will do the trick.

It's a fairly simple and straightforward story about the capacity of love to heal spiritual wounds and make damaged beings whole, hence its power.  Her other novels are in vogue right now, particularly the unreadable Middlemarch, but this is clearly Eliot's best and one of the most affecting novels of the 19th Century.


Grade: (A)


See also:

George Eliot Links:

    -WIKIPEDIA: George Eliot
-ESSAY: The art of good hope: What we can learn from George Eliot (Victoria McGeer, 2 Mar 2022, ABC Religion & Ethics)
    -REVIEW ESSAY: Looming morality: On George Eliot’s Silas Marner (Carla Main, March 2022, New Criterion)
    -REVIEW: of The Marriage Questions: George Eliot’s Double Life by Clare Carlisle (Marina Benjamin, Prospect)

Book-related and General Links:
-ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA: Your search: "george eliot"
    -OVERVIEW: George Eliot (Victorian Web, Brown U.)
    -George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans) (1819-80)
    -George Eliot (1819-1880) Pseudonym for Mary Ann Cross, also Marian Evans, original surname Evans (kirjasto)
    -George Eliot:  Biography
    -The San Antonio College LitWeb George Eliot Page
    -ETEXT: SILAS MARNER  The Weaver of Raveloe   by George Eliot  (Mary Anne Evans) 1861
    -ONLINE STUDY GUIDE: Silas Marner by George Eliot. (SparkNote by Debra Grossman)
    -NovelGuide: Novel Analysis: Silas Marner
    -Cyberguide - Silas Marner
    -§26. "Silas Marner". XI. The Political And Social Novel. (The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes)
    -REVIEWS: - Silas Marner
    -REVIEW: of THE LIFTED VEIL By George Eliot (George Levine, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: John Bayley: Eminent Victorian, NY Review of Books
        George Eliot: The Last Victorian by Kathryn Hughes
    -REVIEW: George Eliot: The Last Victorian, by Kathryn Hughes (Daniel O'Hara, Gay and Lesbian Humanist)
    -REVIEW: Millicent Bell: George Eliot, Radical, NY Review of Books
        George Eliot, Voice of a Century: A Biography by Frederick R Karl
        The Real Life of Mary Ann Evans: George Eliot, Her Letters and Fiction by Rosemarie Bodenheimer
    -REVIEW: of GEORGE ELIOT Voice of a Century: A Biography By Frederick R. Karl  (CHRISTOPHER LEHMANN-HAUPT, NY Times)
    -REVIEW: of GEORGE ELIOT, VOICE OF A CENTURY A Biography. By Frederick R. Karl  (John Bayley, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of GEORGE ELIOT A Life. By Rosemary Ashton.  (William S. Peterson, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: Harold Bloom: On the Heights, NY Review of Books
        Selections from George Eliot's Letters edited by Gordon S. Haight
    -REVIEW: of SELECTIONS FROM GEORGE ELIOT'S LETTERS Edited by Gordon S. Haight (Gillian Beer, NY Times Book Review)
    -ESSAY:  George Eliot, Dorothea and Me: Rereading (and Rereading) 'Middlemarch'  (Mary Gordon, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: Louis Menand: Eliot Without Tears, NY Review of Books
        George Eliot's 'Middlemarch' directed by Anthony Page and produced by BBC Television
    -REVIEW: of PARALLEL LIVES Five Victorian Marriages. By Phyllis Rose (Nina Auerbach, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Parallel Lives: Five Victorian Marriages. By Phyllis Rose (Anatole Broyard, NY Times)
    -ESSAY: THE COUNTRY OF GEORGE ELIOT (Selected Writings of William Sharp, Vol. IV, Literary Geography)
    -ESSAY: "George Eliot" by Virginia Woolf

    -The Victorian Web (Brown U.)
    -Victorian Literature Website