Daniel Deronda is a novel by George Eliot, first published in 1876. It was the last novel she completed and the only one set in the contemporary Victorian society of her day. The work’s mixture of social satire and moral searching, along with its sympathetic rendering of Jewish proto-Zionist ideas, has made it the controversial final statement of one of the most renowned of Victorian novelists.
It contains two main strains of plot, united by the title character. The novel begins in late August 1865 with the meeting of Daniel Deronda and Gwendolen Harleth in the fictional town of Leubronn, Germany.
The novel has been adapted for film three times, once as a silent feature and twice for television. It has also been adapted for the stage, notably in the 1960s by the 69 Theatre Company in Manchester with Vanessa Redgrave cast as the heroine Gwendolen Harleth.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mary Anne Evans (22 November 1819 – 22 December 1880; alternatively Mary Ann or Marian), known by her pen name George Eliot, was an English novelist, poet, journalist, translator, and one of the leading writers of the Victorian era. She wrote seven novels, including Adam Bede (1859), The Mill on the Floss (1860), Silas Marner (1861), Romola (1862–63), Middlemarch (1871–72), and Daniel Deronda (1876), most of which are set in provincial England and known for their realism and psychological insight.
Although female authors were published under their own names during her lifetime, she wanted to escape the stereotype of women’s writing being limited to lighthearted romances. She also wanted to have her fiction judged separately from her already extensive and widely known work as an editor and critic. Another factor in her use of a pen name may have been a desire to shield her private life from public scrutiny, thus avoiding the scandal that would have arisen because of her relationship with the married George Henry Lewes.