I watched the 2002 miniseries of Daniel Deronda a while back and I remember enjoying it, but the book was… less so. The first portion spends so much time on Gwendolen Harleth’s story that it left me wondering why George Eliot chose the title for the book that she did. Granted, Gwendolen’s probably more fleshed out as a character than Deronda, but I’m guessing that’s because Daniel Deronda’s purpose in the novel was more symbolic.
I wanted to know WHY this novel was so important (as opposed to, say, Middlemarch which I loved so much more) – so upon reading up on it, I found that Eliot’s sympathetic presentation of the Jewish plight and Zionism was pretty revolutionary for the time. This is also her only novel to take place during the period in which she lived and wrote (late Victorian era). So, knowing her true intentions and what she was trying to tackle I can see why that particular aspect of the novel seems weaker and than Gwendolen’s storyline. She was breaking new ground in western lit.
I will say, I start to tire of characters like Mirah Lapidoth who just are so ~good~ it almost rots your teeth. But they’re everywhere in this period. I had the same issue with Agnes Grey. I’d take a Gwendolen any day. At least there’s an arc. And boy do I love to hate Henleigh Mallinger Grandcourt. Hugh Bonneville is superbas Grandcourt in the miniseries. It took me a while to get through, it’s not a terrible novel, just slow and oddly paced.
Back when I graduated from university in 2008 with my BA in Creative Writing & Literature there was a bit of a stigma to self-publishing and it’s amazing to see how it’s changed over the years. I spent a brief period of time as a bookseller at Barnes & Noble when I came back from completing my MA in the UK and often customers had no idea they were requesting a POD (Print-on-Demand) self-published title. Those authors have major traction now. It’s become fairly popular for Instapoets to get their words on the page as well. I’m in the middle of self-publishing a book of poetry myself and I have more respect than ever for this entire process.
Not sure why I didn’t consider doing this sooner. I much prefer doing things my own way. Not going to lie, writing contests have never held a huge appeal for me. I’ve tried my luck at a handful but never kept pursuing it. I prefer to do my art my own way and let the audience make of it what they will. The one major downside is you have to get your art in front of people all on your own, but oh how nice it is to be doing it all for you and completely your own way.
I’m not going to go into the entire process since there are already some amazing resources out there, but I can share some of the ones that I am using. I work with graphic designers on a daily basis at my job so thankfully, a friend/coworker did my cover design (I paid her). I found a great typesetter/interior designer thorough Reedsy who I am working with now and in the final stages of proofing. The publishing platform I’m using is IngramSpark which, to be honest, I’m still learning how to use… but they have a lot of helpful articles for us newbs to this whole self-publishing process.
I can’t say I’m a guru just yet, but the next book should be SO much easier! Although maybe not cheaper… Oh, and I don’t update it as often as I should, but you can find me @dukeofverse on Instagram.
I listened to the Penguin Classics audiobook version of Far From the Maddening Crowd narrated by Olivia Vinall after sampling a few different narrators on iBooks. Narrators really make or break audiobooks. I highly recommend it. I did this a little backward and watched the 2015 version film version of this story before reading the book and enough time had passed that by the time I read the book I’d forgotten some major plot points. So, it all worked out.
Definitely forgot how cringy Boldwood is. YIKES. Bathsheba remains an amazingly complex and flawed heroine and I’m continually surprised how Hardy manages to write women during a time when they were largely presented in one of two tropes. Angel virgin or fallen woman. You’ll be frustrated and at the same time hoping she figures out what the hell she wants in life. If you prefer more perfect heroines, maybe read something else. You might be yelling at the book, but it’s never boring.
Life has been so busy lately with doing a cross-country move, but I have still managed to keep my reading up with audiobooks. Still living in my comfort zone of Victorian literature for the moment so I want to take this time to blast some of my reviews out. If you don’t follow me on Goodreads that’s where I post them first. Long reviews test my patience so I tend to keep them brief and to the point.
Also, people of the internet… please, stop summarizing the book in your reviews. We all learned this in middle school essay writing. That is all.