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Adam Bede

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A novel by G. Eliot, published 1859.

The action takes place at the close of the 18th cent. Hetty Sorrel, pretty, vain, and self‐centred, niece of the genial farmer Martin Poyser, is loved by Adam Bede, the village carpenter, but is deluded by the attentions of the young squire, Arthur Donnithorne, and is seduced by him. Arthur breaks off relations with her, and Hetty, broken‐hearted, agrees to marry Adam. But before the marriage she discovers she is pregnant, flies from home to seek Arthur, fails to find him, is arrested and convicted of infanticide, and saved from the gallows at the last moment. In prison she is comforted by her cousin Dinah Morris, a Methodist preacher, whose strong, serious, and calm nature is contrasted with hers throughout the novel. In the last chapters, Adam discovers that Dinah loves him; his brother Seth, who had long and hopelessly loved Dinah, resigns her to him with a fine unselfishness.

Subjects: Literature

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George Eliot (1819—1880) novelist