When Scenes of Clerical Life--Eliot's first work of fiction--first appeared in print anonymously in 1857, critics immediately hailed it for its humorous irony, the truthfulness of its presentation of the lives of ordinary men and women, and its compassionate acceptance of human weakness. The three stories that comprise the volume foreshadow Eliot's greatest work, and an acquaintance with them is essential to a full understanding of one of the greatest English novelists.
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Thomas A. Noble is editor of the Clarendon edition of Scenes of Clerical Life
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