George Eliot: Felix Holt, the Radical

(2177 words)
  • Nathan Uglow (Trinity All Saints, Leeds)

George Eliot's novel, Felix Holt is set against the backdrop of the general election of 1832 as it apparently occurred in the fictional town of Treby Magna. During the composition of the work, Eliot pursued three main lines of research. First she consulted the Annual Register for 1832 and the Times newspaper as far back as 1829, when the proposed Bill for Catholic Emancipation led to an increase in religious dissension, and up to the reports of the 1832 polling day rioting. These accounts she filled out by reading memoirs such as Samuel Bamford's Passages in the Life of a Radical. Second, she dipped into Blackstone's famous codification of English law to create a complex legal argument about the ownership of the Transome …

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Uglow, Nathan. "Felix Holt, the Radical". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 March 2002
[, accessed 30 September 2016.]