Searching for his life’s purpose, young Daniel Deronda is immediately attracted to the beautiful but shallow Gwendolen Harleth during a chance meeting at a casino. As they pursue separate journeys of self-discovery, culminating in Daniel’s discovery of his Jewish heritage, Daniel and Gwendolen reveal much about the depth of their characters and the circumstances that have influenced their lives.
Daniel Deronda was George Eliot’s final, and arguably most controversial, novel. Many readers questioned the author’s focus on Jewish characters and culture, and her criticism of their social position in England at that time. This criticism continued well into the twentieth century, when influential British literary critic F. R. Leavis re-released Daniel Deronda, excluding the sections focusing on the Jewish characters, and re-named it Gwendolen Harleth.
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