Reading plans

Classics Club Spin Lands on George Eliot

The classics club spin machine has spoken. It landed this time on number two which means I get to read the shortest book from my list: The Lifted Veil by George Eliot.

This novella is a fantasy tale, so a significant departure from the social realism for which she is best known. But grew out of the same interest in science that we can see in her most famous novel, Middlemarch.

The Lifted Veil is narrated by an egocentric, morbid young man who begins to be afflicted with the unwanted ability to ‘hear’ the interior thoughts and emotions of those around him. Eliot uses this as a device to explore ideas of free-will and knowledge but also to explore her own belief in the importance of seeing into other people’s minds and emotions in order to empathise with their circumstances.

It was published anonymously in Blackwood’s Magazine in 1859, just a few months after the publication of Adam Bede. In 1879 it was published, under the author’s name, in the same volume as Brother Jacob and Silas Marner.

I know this is a short text but I sense the contents will take some focused reading so may well take me as long to read as a standard length novel. Fortunately time is on my side — according to the Classic Club “rules” I have until 30th October. I may even go onto read Brother Jacob which is in the same edition I bought almost ten years ago now.

BookerTalk

What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

21 thoughts on “Classics Club Spin Lands on George Eliot

  • I read The Lifted Veil recently and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was in an anthology of early science fiction and does have some SF aspects, but as usual with these older writers it’s mostly about the characters. Hope you enjoy it!

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    • It really seems that opinion is vastly divided on this book

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  • I read this a few years ago and found it quite enjoyable, but definitely not the sort of book you would expect from George Eliot. My edition didn’t include Brother Jacob, so I would be interested to hear more about it if you do go on to read that one as well.

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    • I was surprised when I read the description – definitely not like any of her other books

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  • I’ve read and enjoyed some of her work, but not this one. I’ll wait to see what you think of it!

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    • Interesting to see the different reactions in the comments about this book

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  • This sounds an unexpected but appealing title from GE, one I’d never heard of before now so of course now I’m intrigued!

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    • I could see this as being one you’d enjoy getting stuck into – you would no doubt make a lot more sense of it than I will

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  • Interesting! It’s certainly something which divides opinion, and the LT VMC group is vocal on the subject. I actually really enjoyed The Lifted Veil….

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  • I look forward to seeing what you think of it, because it is on my list as well. But I got Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell this time!

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  • I have this – and have yet to read it. We’re away at the moment but will join you in the read when we return home, Karen. Having read the comments… seems a little problematic?

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  • Never heard of this one! Sounds like the premise of that movie What Women Want, hopefully better executed 🙂

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  • Oh my goodness it is AWFUL. In my opinion. I say this as a strong lover of GE. I just loathed it. Creepy and horrible! But maybe you’ll love it! Good luck!

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