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The Ordeal Of Richard Feverel
by George Meredith
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Of all nineteenth-century English novels," claims Edward Mendelson in his Introduction to this edition, "The Ordeal of Richard Feverel is the most self-consciously literary in its style and structure and the most sexually explicit in its plot and theme." First published in 1859, Meredith's first and most controversial novel concerns Sir Austin Feverel's misconceived attempts to educate his son Richard according to a system of his own devising--a system based on theories of sexual restraint. Exploring generational and gender conflicts, the psychology of sexual jealousy and repression, and myths of Eden and Utopia, The Ordeal of Richard Feverel shocked Victorian readers but gained for itself a cult following. "Now that it has been freed from its reputation," writes Mendelson, "readers can discover again the tragic and ironic force, and the psychological and formal complexity that make The Ordeal of Richard Feverel one of the most profound, subtle, and moving works of English fiction."
A wonderfully ironic and impassioned novel of war between the sexes and the generations by a writer who "deserves our gratitude and excites our interest as a great innovator" (Virginia Woolf)
The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature
Third novel by George Meredith, published in 1859. It is typical of his best work, full of allusion and metaphor, lyrical prose and witty dialogue, with a deep exploration of the psychology of motive and rationalization. The novel's subject is the relationship between a cruelly manipulative father and a son who loves a girl of a lower social class. Both men are self-deluded and proud, and the story's ending is tragic. When it was first published, some readers considered the novel prurient and, as a result, it was banned by the leading lending libraries.
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