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So wrote George Eliot of Romola, the novel which argues her most profound and utopian vision of the position of women. Romola's patient subservience to her scholar-father Bardo, her unhappy marriage to supple and treacherous Tito, and her passionate intellectual and spiritual awakening take place in Renaissance Florence which, like Victorian Britain, was caught up in a period of ferment and transition.
One of George Eliot's most ambitious and imaginative novels, Romola is set in Renaissance Florence during the turbulent years following the expulsion of the powerful Medici family during which the zealous religious reformer Savonarola rose to control the city. At its heart is Romola, the devoted daughter of a blind scholar, married to the clever but ultimately treacherous Tito whose duplicity in both love and politics threatens to destroy everything she values, and she must break away to find her own path in life. Described by Eliot as 'written with my best blood', the story of Romola's intellectual and spiritual awakening is a compelling portrayal of a Utopian heroine, played out against a turbulent historical backdrop.
George Eliot (1819-1880), is the author of Adam Bede (1859), The Mill on the Floss (1860), Silas Mariner (1861) and Middlemarch (1872). Dorothea Barrett received her PhD in Literature from Cambridge University (UK). She has been teaching for NYU in Florence since the Fall 2001 and offers "Postmodern Fiction: International Perspective" and "Survey of Modern Italian Literature".
“George Eliot’s humanity colors all her other gifts—her humor, her morality, and her exquisite rhetoric.” —Henry James