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A protagonist of questionable origins prevents an impoverished woman from committing suicide, and the act initiates a string of amazing discoveries for both characters in this nineteenth century novel. Daniel Deronda, the hero and narrator, is a well-to-do London gentleman who has been raised by Sir Hugo, who may or may not be his father. One fateful night Daniel rescues a mysterious, beautiful Jewish woman named Mirah Lapidoth just as she is about to drown herself in the Thames. The two form a strong bond as Mirah tells Daniel her heartbreaking story, which leads Daniel to help her search for her lost family members. During this process Daniel becomes increasingly fascinated by London’s Jewish community. He meets a Jewish mystic named Mordecai, and though he is drawn to him, Daniel feels that their connection is hindered by his own identity as a gentile. Eventually, Daniel must travel to Italy to meet his mother and learn the true story of his birth—and the revelation of this secret is both a surprise and something Daniel knew all along.
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Opening Lines (Experimental)
Let thy chief terror be of thine own soul: There, 'mid the throng of hurrying desires That trample on the dead to seize their spoil, Lurks vengeance, footless, irresistible As exhalations laden with slow death, And o'er the fairest troop of captured joys Breathes pallid pestilence.
BOOK I.--THE ...
Ratings for 'Daniel Deronda' by Eliot, George