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A Good Place To Start

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Silas Marner 2
The Mill on the Floss 2
Middlemarch 1

A Bad Place To Start

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Silas Marner 2
Daniel Deronda 2

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Categorization is odious. There is tremendous overlap among genres. These pigeonholes are offered only as a convenience.

George Eliot

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Please consider recommending where to begin reading this author, or where not to. A few words about your experiences reading this author and why you make the recommendations you do will be helpful to other users. If you are the author or have studied this author extensively, please say so.

tim helck July 31st, 2006 08:12 PM PST

The best novelist in the English language.

I recommend "Silas Marner" first, it's a short novel, and absolutely exquisite. Most people consider "Middlemarch" her best, though my favorite is "The Mill on the Floss". "Adam Bede" is also a wonderful book.

dewey_decimal February 20th, 2008 03:32 PM PST

I was torn between Middlemarch and Silas Marner, but opted for Silas as it's shorter and simpler, which I think is always the best place to start until you've decided whether you like the author.

George Eliot is one of my favourite authors. Something to keep in mind as you read her work: Eliot lived a very unconventional life (she lived common-law with a married man for many years). So she is concerned with the hypocrisies of "respectable society," which tries to sweep its dirty deeds under the carpet. You can see this in Silas Marner, in the treatment of Eppie's mother.

Also, GE was a rather mannish-looking woman with a formidable intellect, and was frequently regarded as being a little too "masculine" in terms of her intellectual interests. She was interested in Darwin's theory of evolution, and seems to have taken a lot of interest in whether men's and women's characters are formed as the result of nature, or nurture, and whether they can be altered. So we see Silas Marner, a bachelor, nurturing his small adopted daughter, and in Middlemarch we see Dorothea Brooke come to the gradual realization that she is her husband's intellectual superior, when all she wanted to be was his handmaiden.

pageminder February 15th, 2010 01:49 PM PST

I have read and loved almost all of Eliot's work, but I never could get into "Silas Marner." In fact, I'm not sure I ever made it all the way through. I respect the opinions of my predecessors on this page, but they are unfortunately...um...wrong. Start somewhere else! I read "The Mill on the Floss" first and (see above) went on to read everything else. "Middlemarch" is undoubtedly her greatest in many ways. "Daniel Deronda" would be a great third Eliot to read. It is truly fascinating, though not as wide in its focus as the others.

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