Critical Insights George Eliot Review

“This approachable volume offers the reader 16 essays concerning George Eliot's life and work. In addition to the expected essays addressing a variety of specific topics and works, two biographical and four contextual essays are also included at the beginning of the book which help to orient the reader to Eliot's life, her culture, and her contemporaries. Of particular usefulness is the essay "Critical Tipples: Or, A Nip into George Eliot Criticism, Then and Now," which provides a cogent summary of the landscape of Eliot criticism in areas like feminism, Marxism, postcolonialism, and others. Also of interest is the essay concerning Edith Simcox's secret love for George Eliot; her adoring and detailed accounts of her beloved, as recorded in her diary, allow readers a fascinating and unusual view of Eliot's life and work.

Although Romola, Felix Holt, the Radical, and Daniel Deronda are not addressed specifically by any of the critical essays, Eliot's other major novels do receive individual treatment. The Lifted Veil, a novella which famously departs from Eliot's typical realism and instead engages with questions of the mystical and supernatural, is actually addressed by two separate essays. The remaining pieces focus on Eliot's work in journalism and on general themes throughout her work, rounding off a collection that gives satisfying breadth without overwhelming depth. The entire volume would form an ample foundation for beginning scholars of Eliot, but it also has unique content to offer an advanced reader.”