George Meredith: The Ordeal of Richard Feverel

(3002 words)

The Ordeal of Richard Feverel (published in 1859 and revised in 1878 and 1897) is Meredith’s first major novel and follows the progress of its eponymous hero from the age of fourteen into young manhood. It may be read as a novel about ideology, about systems, both explicit and implicit, and about the texts that inscribe them. Taking as its model the bildungsroman (an increasingly popular fictional form in an era preoccupied with the individual, which characteristically charted a youth’s growth into manhood and maturity) it proceeds to subvert the expectations set up by this form. Instead of journeying towards the truth of self-knowledge (with the faith in the distinction between true and false that this implies)…

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Zlosnik, Sue. "The Ordeal of Richard Feverel". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 October 2004
[, accessed 06 July 2015.]