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.