|About the Book|
Southeast of Birmingham along the River Avon lies a countryside of brick farmhouses, flowers, chanting birds, and canals. It is here where George Eliot spent her childhood and here, she claims, where was sown the seed to all my good. The areaMoreSoutheast of Birmingham along the River Avon lies a countryside of brick farmhouses, flowers, chanting birds, and canals. It is here where George Eliot spent her childhood and here, she claims, where was sown the seed to all my good. The area served as not just the locale but an important theme in most of her work, including Silas Marner. The tale of a selfish and miserly weaver who finds redemption through the care and love of a child, this 1861 novella is one of the masterpieces of British literature. The narrative combines elements of myth, social criticism, and vivid portraiture to produce near perfection of form. In his study of Silas Marner, Patrick Swinden uses historical events as the keys that unlock the intentions of the novelist- for example, he examines her tale for instances of Radical sympathies, distrust of the squirearchy, and compassion for the poor. The circumstances that gave rise to these feelings are fully explained by Swinden, both on the level of national politics and on the more localized plane of Eliots personal life. The only critical book that devotes such sustained attention to this one work, Silas Marner: Memory and Salvation will surprise many with its new ideas about George Eliots representation of religion and depiction of private experience. Fresh ideas such as these render Swindens study the best introduction to Silas Marner, the novel that itself serves as the best introduction to Eliot.