Adam Bede

Realism in Adam Bede College

Adam Bede published in 1859 is George Eliot’s first full-length novel but not her first fiction. At the time of its apparition, she had already published a collection of three novellas and established herself as an editor, reviewer, and essayist. Thus, by the time she was writing her first novel, she was already in full possession of the needed experience to shape her own mode of expression which was marked by the adoption of Realism as a dominant literary genre. Her full command and commitment to the latter was also the fruit of laborious and lengthy research on the one hand, and a strong humanistic perspective on the other.

Adam Bede is an early example of the Realism which dominated George Eliot’s writings and was essential to them. It is important to note that to her, it did not mean a transparent representation of the real world through writing, but rather a conviction that the latter should by no means attempt to romanticize or falsify this image and reproduction of the world. Realism was thus a significant topic upon which Eliot dwelt in many of her compositions. In her essay on critic John Ruskin, she defines it as, “the doctrine that all truth and beauty are to be attained by a humble and faithful study of nature”....

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