If Felix Holt, the Radical is perhaps the most discomfiting of George Eliot's major novels, most contemporary readers ascribe this fact to the baldly ideological way in which Eliot handles the political "radicalism" that is its avowed central theme. But this political discomfort is augmented by the plot's awkward embrace of the disparate domains of the erotic and the legalistic. The novel's opening is dominated by Mrs. Transome, the imperious mistress of Transome Court whose long-ago extramarital affair has become a source of constant bitterness and anxiety; its denouement, meanwhile, is precipitated by the revelation of an inheritance plot so complex that Eliot had to consult a lawyer to get it right and the standard modern edition of the novel includes an appendix explaining its tortuous logic.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Arts and Humanities(all)
- Felix Holt, the Radical
- George Eliot
- Political radicalism