'She did not know then that it was Love who had come to her briefly as in a dream
before awaking, with the hues of morning on his wings - that it was Love to whom she was
sobbing her farewell as his image was banished by the blameless rigour of irresistible
George Eliot's most ambitious novel is a masterly evocation
of diverse lives and changing fortunes in a provincial community. Peopling its landscape
are Dorothea Brooke, a young idealist whose search for intellectual fulfillment leads her
into a disastrous marriage to the pedantic scholar Casaubon; the charming but tactless Dr
Lydgate, whose marriage to the spendthrift beauty Rosamund and pioneering medical methods
threaten to undermine his career; and the religious hypocrite Bulstrode, hiding scandalous
crimes from his past. As their stories interweave, George Eliot creates a richly nuanced
and moving drama, hailed by Virginia Woolf as 'one of the few English novels written for
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