The Ordeal of Richard Feverel Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Ordeal of Richard Feverel

Doris Lessing says that Meredith is terribly underrated, and that, more than Eliot, Trollope, or Hardy, he came closer to doing what Tolstoy and Stendhal did for Russia and France: capture the economic and social realities of his nation and age. In this first novel, he tells the story of a baronet who tries to raise his son according to a System, based on Science and Reason, and how that System fails in the face of the complexities of life and human desire. (The novel serves partly as a critique of Rousseau's _Emile_.) _Richard Feverel_ deals candidly with sex for its time (in _Ulysses_, Stephen Dedalus mentions it as a way of expressing sophistication in morality and art), and has several strong female characters. Its narration is often indirect and very erudite (there are lots of classical and Shakespearean references), yet it is a very moving, and very sad book. Meredith reworked it several times, so the 2000 Penguin edition, edited with notes by Edward Mendelson, is perhaps the best to tackle.
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The review of this Book prepared by David Loftus

Chapter Analysis of The Ordeal of Richard Feverel

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Plot & Themes

Time/era of story    -   1600-1899 Romance/Romance Problems    -   Yes Kind of romance:    -   seduction (yum!) Kids growing up/acting up?    -   Yes Family, struggle with    -   Yes Struggle with:    -   Father (or standin) Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Parents/lack of parents problem?    -   rebelling against parent's expectations Unmarried Love Triangle?    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   wealthy Age:    -   20's-30's


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   3 () Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   England/UK    -   France    -   Germany Forest?    -   Yes City?    -   Yes City:    -   London

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references only Weird Victorian/Shakespearean English?    -   Yes Amount of dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog

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George Meredith Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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