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Daniel Deronda the last of Eliot's novels is the most complete expression of her idealism Its main concerns are. THE DIPTYCH This novel was renewed my interest on how George Eliot wrote I am highly tempted to read about her and approach literary evaluations of her writing but before I do so I want to read Adam Bede and Silas Marner and may be reread The Mill on the FlossWhen I read Romola I considered GE’s cosmopolitanism and breath of knowledge These elements are also present in Daniel Deronda but with an added edge With Middlemarch it was the role of the narrator and the clear presence of the author that attracted me In DD the voice of the writer is also clear but in less authorial fashion and one suspects speaking often through her characters What struck me most and want to select for my review this time is the structure of the novel It is clearly divided in two Clearly a diptych Already MM seemed to me to consist of two parallel stories joined somewhat seamlessly in the middle The study of provincial evolved around two foci the doctor Lydgate and the illuminated Dorothea Both idealists The twists and turnings of the plot however managed to link the two stories creating a middle path in Middlemarch were these two different versions of dreamers confronted each other and helped each other in correcting their reflectionsThis double structure is again present in Daniel Deronda GE’s last novel but with a wider gap between the two panels With almost separated frames the novel reads like a double portrait or a diptych with two facing and complementary donors searching for an object of adoration that is however missing – for the Self is never in the other The two subjects pursue their mirroring images and transverse their separating frames by engaging in dialogs and verbal encounters The twists and turns of the plot this time do not fuse their separated worlds Only their minds bridge the gapGenerally I do not discuss characters in my reviews but I can't avoid it this time In this novel the two protagonists the sitters in the double portrait baffled me Gwendolen Gwen potentially a highly irritating young woman fascinated me because I thought she was such a modern character I expected that young powerful women in today’s professional world and who are not just capable and intelligent but also beautiful—and I am thinking of top Wall street traders or international lawyers of the type of for example Amal Aladdin must have a similar self assurance and defiance and inner drive and independence and élan as Gwen But even if these contemporary women have had a better chance to explore and exploit their abilities in their chosen fields of excellence than GE has allowed Gwen she did not get on my nerves I was enthralled by her modernity Daniel in spite of having claimed the title of the novel remained for me an euivocal figure It is almost as if in my diptych Daniel—with his messianic role turned around for he is the Christian leading onto the Jewish— is a donor who through a process of transubstantiation has become the object of adorationAnd in that transformation the novel dims and blurs its cast of characters and becomes and an exploration of ideas spirituality and politics with a defence of Judaism and a daring proposal of Zionism In all this Daniel emerges as an ethereal saviour but poor Gwen succumbs and loses her leading edgeAnd that is what made me wonder about how GE wrote her books and planned her work in her mind Did she spend half of her day doing intellectual research on the subjects that captivated her and did she then transcribe her reading into her novel in the afternoons What was her true objective to expand her erudition or to mould it into something elseI will have to put aside my curiosity for a while and continue reading her work but with her intelligent writing and formidable abilities she certainly makes me ponder about the process of writing that elusive act creativity How is it born and how does it liveAnd how did Rothko paint the above diptych

Characters Daniel Deronda

Daniel DerondaLl set in an era of considerable national and international awareness The text is that of the Clarendon Edition. Once upon a time I was on a long train journey and one of my compartment's neighbors watching me reading for a lengthy period in a frozen silence asked me which word in human's vocabulary was the most valuable My reply was spontaneously uttered Love The man was surprised He said he had expected me to answer soul or God I just laughed and replied Love is enough as Love is God Well it should be enough But maybe not any Anyway at that time I certainly felt that while raising on the ray of love one can enter the enlightened kingdom of everything that God has created In a way but again depending on the key of interpretation it is better to say that love is God than to say that truth is God because the harmony the beauty the vitality the joy and the bliss that are part of love are not part of truth Truth is to be known heard voiced; love is to be felt experienced as well as known The growth and perfection of love lead to the ultimate merger with God whatever that means for each of usWe like it or not the greatest poverty of all is the absence of love The man who has not developed the capacity to love lives in a private hell of his own A man who is filled with love is in heaven – earthly or not it doesn’t matter it’s enough if it’s also mentally and physically spiritually experienced A human can be seen as a wonderful and uniue plant a plant that is capable of producing both nectar and poison If a man lives by hate he reaps a harvest of poison; if he lives by love he gathers blossoms laden with nectar I guess each one has a similar experience Like it or not one cannot avoid it If I mould my life and live it with the well being of everything in mind that is love But Love results from the awareness that you are not separate not different from anything else in existence I am in you; you are in me This love is religious and it is the truest oneI replied that love is God That is to me the ultimate truth But love also exists within the family unit This is the first step on the journey to love and the ultimate can never happen if the beginning has been absent Love is responsible for the existence of the family and when the family unit moves apart and its members spread out into society love increases and grows When a man's family has finally grown to incorporate all of mankind his love becomes one with GodWithout love a human being is just an individual an ego He has no family; he has no link with other people This is gradual death Life on the other hand is interrelation Love surpasses the duality of the ego This alone is truth The man who thirsts for truth must first develop his capacity to love—to the point where the difference between the lover and the beloved disappears and only love remains When the light of love is freed from the duality of lover and the beloved when it is freed from the haze of seer and seen when only the light of pure love shines brightly that is freedom and liberation Or better said that’s supreme freedomI wondered what I could say about love Love is so difficult to describe Love is just there You could probably see it in my eyes if you came up and looked into them I wonder if you can feel it as my arms spread in an embraceLoveWhat is loveIf love is not felt in my eyes in my arms in my silence then it can never be realized from my wordsuotes “My dear boy you are too young to be taking momentous decisive steps of that sort This is a fancy which you have got into your head during an idle week or two you must set to work at something and dismiss it There is every reason against it An engagement at your age would be totally rash and unjustifiable; and over alliances between first cousins are undesirable Make up your mind to a brief disappointment Life is full of them We have all got to be broken in; and this is a mild beginning for you”“In any case she would have to submit; and he enjoyed thinking of her as his future wife whose pride and spirit were suited to command everyone but himself He had no taste for a woman who was all tenderness to him full of petitioning solicitude and willing obedience He meant to be master of a woman who would have liked to master him and who perhaps would have been capable of mastering another man”“he had wanted to marry Gwendolen and he was not a man to repent Why should a gentleman whose other relations in life are carried on without the luxury of sympathetic feeling be supposed to reuire that kind of condiment in domestic life What he chiefly felt was that a change had come over the conditions of his mastery which far from shaking it might establish it the thoroughly And it was established He judged that he had not married a simpleton unable to perceive the impossibility of escape or to see alternative evils he had married a girl who had spirit and pride enough not to make a fool of herself by forfeiting all the advantages of a position which had attracted her; and if she wanted pregnant hints to help her in making up her mind properly he would take care not to withhold them”“When you undertook to be Mrs Grandcourt you undertook not to make a fool of yourself You have been making a fool of yourself this morning; and if you were to go on as you have begun you might soon get yourself talked of at the clubs in a way you would not like What do you know about the world You have married me and must be guided by my opinion”“Her griefs were feminine; but to her as a woman they were not the less hard to bear and she felt an eual right to the Promethean tone she had a confused state of emotion about Deronda—was it wounded pride and resentment or a certain awe and exceptional trust “though it was her hunger to speak to him which had set her imagination on constructing this chance of finding him and had made her hurry down as birds hover near the water which they dare not drink Always uneasily dubious about his opinion of her she felt a peculiar anxiety to day lest he might think of her with contempt as one triumphantly conscious of being Grandcourt's wife the future lady of this domain It was her habitual effort now to magnify the satisfactions of her pride on which she nourished her strength; but somehow Deronda's being there disturbed them all There was not the faintest touch of couetry in the attitude of her mind toward him he was uniue to her among men because he had impressed her as being not her admirer but her superior in some mysterious way he was becoming a part of her conscience as one woman whose nature is an object of reverential belief may become a new conscience to a man”“It did not signify that the other gentlemen took the opportunity of being near her of what use in the world was their admiration while she had an uneasy sense that there was some standard in Deronda's mind which measured her into littleness”“Poor Gwendolen was conscious of an uneasy transforming process—all the old nature shaken to its depths its hopes spoiled its pleasures perturbed but still showing wholeness and strength in the will to reassert itself After every new shock of humiliation she tried to adjust herself and seize her old supports—proud concealment trust in new excitements that would make life go by without much thinking; trust in some deed of reparation to nullify her self blame and shield her from a vague ever visiting dread of some horrible calamity; trust in the hardening effect of use and wont that would make her indifferent to her miseriesYes—miseries This beautiful healthy young creature with her two and twenty years and her gratified ambition no longer felt inclined to kiss her fortunate image in the glass She looked at it with wonder that she could be so miserable”“Gwendolen's appetite had sickened Let her wander over the possibilities of her life as she would an uncertain shadow dogged her Her confidence in herself and her destiny had turned into remorse and dread; she trusted neither herself nor her future”“With all the sense of inferiority that had been forced upon her it was inevitable that she should imagine a larger place for herself in his thoughts than she actually possessed They must be rather old and wise persons who are not apt to see their own anxiety or elation about themselves reflected in other minds; and Gwendolen with her youth and inward solitude may be excused for dwelling on signs of special interest in her shown by the one person who had impressed her with the feeling of submission and for mistaking the color and proportion of those signs in the mind of Deronda”“But as always happens with a deep interest the comparatively rare occasions on which she could exchange any words with Deronda had a diffusive effect in her consciousness magnifying their communication with each other and therefore enlarging the place she imagined it to have in his mind How could Deronda help this He certainly did not avoid her; rather he wished to convince her by every delicate indirect means that her confidence in him had not been indiscreet since it had not lowered his respect Moreover he liked being near her—how could it be otherwise She was something than a problem she was a lovely woman for the turn of whose mind and fate he had a care which however futile it might be kept soliciting him as a responsibility perhaps all the that when he dared to think of his own future he saw it lying far away from this splendid sad hearted creature who because he had once been impelled to arrest her attention momentarily as he might have seized her arm with warning to hinder her from stepping where there was danger had turned to him with a beseeching persistent need”“To most men their early home is no than a memory of their early years and I'm not sure but they have the best of it The image is never marred There's no disappointment in memory and one's exaggerations are always on the good side”“No said the Princess shaking her head and folding her arms with an air of decision You are not a woman You may try—but you can never imagine what it is to have a man's force of genius in you and yet to suffer the slavery of being a girl To have a pattern cut out—'this is the Jewish woman; this is what you must be; this is what you are wanted for; a woman's heart must be of such a size and no larger else it must be pressed small like Chinese feet; her happiness is to be made as cakes are by a fixed receipt' That was what my father wanted He wished I had been a son; he cared for me as a make shift link His heart was set on his Judaism He hated that Jewish women should be thought of by the Christian world as a sort of ware to make public singers and actresses of As if we were not the enviable for that That is a chance of escaping from bondage”

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Free download ´ Daniel Deronda 102 Ë Daniel Deronda the last of Eliot's novels is the most complete expression of her idealism Its main concerns are those of personal morality of dedication to tradition and roots and of spiritual identification and sympathy all set in an era of considerable national and international awareness The text is that ofThose of personal morality of dedication to tradition and roots and of spiritual identification and sympathy a. Re read from June 07 to June 12 2012I had forgotten what a hard work reading Daniel Deronda was It has to be Eliot’s most challenging and overwhelming novel yet such a great pleasure to read and re read It's enormously ambitious novel broad in its scope space time and history The setting itself is untypical of Eliot’s previous novels It’s no longer the idyllic provincial villages of Adam Bede or Middlemarch but Daniel Deronda is set at the heart of cosmopolitan aristocracy of contemporary London The politics are no longer local but global as Eliot scrutinises the exploits of British Empire The stakes are much higher; the individual identities are threatened and lost The conflict is personal yet also very social Of all the Eliot’s novels Daniel Deronda is the most related to our contemporary society as Eliot explores the themes of racial identity prejudice importance of tolerance religion the uestion of gender boundaries imperialism and Zionism Gwendolen Harleth has to be Eliot's most remarkable and fascinating creation In fact I am in love with Gwendolen The main reason I re read this novel because I missed her I missed being in her mind to follow her cognitions her mental anguish her witty repartees sheer snobbery ambition and heedless narcissism She is of course not the first vain or shallow female character ever created by Eliot The ‘vain girl’ features in most of Eliot’s novels often as a contrast to the heroine She is there as Hetty in Adam Bede Esther in Felix Holt Rosamond in Middlemarch But in Daniel Deronda Gwendolen is put at the centre of the stage and her narcissism is taken to extremes that there is a scene where she is moved to kiss her own reflection in the mirror Like countless other women she suffers from the restrictions Victorian society imposed on any respectable woman She is a dreamer and sees marriage not as a loving union but as a way to achieve status and power She marries Grandcourt because she thinks she will be able to manage him and make him her “slave” Yet contrary to her expectations the marriage turns out to be an abusive one Gwendolen fails to realise that Grandcourt also has an iron will of his own The irony is that her decision to marry the incredibly wealthy Grandcourt was to some extent influenced by her selfless concern towards her bankrupt family So her partly selfless act becomes the bane of her life Grandcourt is bent on to be “a master of a woman who would have liked to master him” A painful psychological struggle for power ensues between them and Gwendolen is uickly crushed by him His secret becomes her guilt a yoke around her neck which continually gnaws at her conscience He breaks her spirit and she becomes withered from inside “a diseased soul” but is forced to play a charade of a happy wifeI liked Deronda even if I found him to be rigid and morally superior He is Eliot’s most feminine hero His ostensibly ‘feminine’ uality of abundant empathy and psychological perceptiveness is contrasted with Gwendolen’s ‘masculine’ desire for power He is the only person who sees Gwendolen for what she is behind her mask of superficial pride and cheerfulness Naturally Gwendolen is drawn to Deronda to help her make her life bearable He becomes her redeemer in the same way as he redeems her necklace which she pawns after gambling Her letter to him contains the most moving and tear inducing lines of the whole novel But Deronda is the man with his own set of troubles Unsure of his true identity he struggles to find a stable niche in society He is the medium which Eliot uses to explore the plight of London's scorned Jewish community and the emergence of Zionism for which this novel is perhaps most famous for Daniel Deronda is highly symbolic novel All those literary references to mythology science philosophy religion and mysticism which slightly irritated me at first reading fit perfectly in the thematic framework of the novel The characters themselves are symbols Grandcourt symbolises the corruption and vulgarity of English aristocracy given to reckless materialism and hedonism His need to crush Gwendolen could be interpreted as the Empire’s colonial ambitions to conuer and enslave the population of the Third World Deronda’s alienation is symbolically shared by the Jewish people to a broader extent who are scattered around the world with no actual homeland and scorned by the native population of their home countriesOverall Daniel Deronda is a terribly exhausting but an eually rewarding read If you are new to Eliot I wouldn't recommend reading this first as it might put you off Eliot forever but her earlier works such as The Mill on the Floss