- Eliot’s first full-length novel, Adam Bede paints a powerful portrait of rural life, seduction, faith, and redemption. This is the first edition based on Eliot’s final revision of the novel in 1861, using the definitive Clarendon text.
- Includes George Eliot’s journal entry on the real-life origins of the story and the composition of the novel, and broadsheet accounts of the execution of Mary Voce, whose story provided the germ of the novel.
- The Introduction discusses the novel’s historical context and some of the main issues it explores: the role of work, class, and relations between the sexes, and Eliot’s belief that the artist’s duty is ‘the faithful representing of commonplace things’.
- Comprehensive notes identify literary and historical allusions and evidence of Eliot’s wide reading.
- Up-to-date bibliography.
New to this edition
- A completely new and reset text, using the definitive Clarendon edition based on the the corrected eighth edition of 1861.
- New Introduction, Select Bibliography, and Explanatory Notes by Carol A. Martin.
- New Chronology.
‘Our deeds carry their terrible consequences…consequences that are hardly ever confined to ourselves.’
Pretty Hetty Sorrel is loved by the village carpenter Adam Bede, but her head is turned by the attentions of the fickle young squire, Arthur Donnithorne. His dalliance with the dairymaid has unforeseen consequences that affect the lives of many in their small rural community. First published in 1859, Adam Bede carried its readers back sixty years to the lush countryside of Eliot’s native Warwickshire, and a time of impending change for England and the wider world. Eliot’s powerful portrayal of the interaction of ordinary people brought a new social realism to the novel, in which humour and tragedy co-exist, and fellow-feeling is the mainstay of human relationships. Faith, in the figure of Methodist preacher Dinah Morris, offers redemption to all who are willing to embrace it.
This new edition is based on the definitive Clarendon edition and Eliot’s corrected text of 1861.