Egoiste by George Meredith

Egoiste by George MeredithThe good book for those who love Jane Osten and especially – her humour, and isn’t afraid of long offers. The humour also became for me the main dignity of “Egoist” – classical, the English reminding also about Dickens… In general the novel much of what reminds, but remains unique – I didn’t meet anything of that kind yet. Judging by volume, you assume to see something like “Vanity Fair” or “David Kopperfild” – many events, it is a lot of characters, a wide interval of time, scale, eventually. You open the book – nothing similar.


A subtitle of “Egoist” – “The comedy for reading”, and it speaks about much besides that it has to be ridiculous. But go figure, about what you are warned by the author, didn’t read the book yet. So there is a lot of surprises.

The first surprise – the novel very strongly gives classicism, that which was before romanticism (or sentimentalism? How there at school did learn?). Plays like “Greenhorn” Fonvizin occur, and it becomes strange that characters have names which aren’t speaking. Though at the surname hints at something, precisely. Meredith practically observes unity of the place, time and action. Action happens in the estate of sir Uilobi Pattern (he is an Egoist from the title) and takes not enough time. The intrigue consists that Uilobi wants to marry Ms. Klara Midlton, and she doesn’t wish to marry him. But here the problem – Klara already managed to agree (well I hurried a little, she is to all), and then understood that the sir At. – the egoist, also doesn’t love it him and late bethought.

Here to you classical conflict of a debt and feeling. Everything, except vanity around around this unfortunate engagement, in the novel doesn’t occur nothing. Dialogues, dialogues, author’s retreats… Characters aren’t enough, the situation really chamber, external life doesn’t interfere, and even on bread itself should earn to nobody (well almost). What there to tell if Klara’s position is, according to the author, “nearly the worst situation in which the woman can get into our educated century”. Already cheerfully. The second surprise is a psychologism. Heroes it is much more interesting, than characters of same “Greenhorn” (I apologize to Fonvizin), are in detail depicted (no wonder at such volume), are just not educated by X-ray. Klara, in any case, turned out absolutely live. And as the summary speaks, Galsworthy used Uilobi as Soms Forsythe’s prototype. Soms, in my opinion, is more convincing, but Uilobi ridiculous, aha. The third surprise is an author’s view of family, marriage and position of women. Yes already the fact that he looked in this party, unexpectedly! Especially its approach to a subject is surprising. Some ideas of Meredith seemed to me very unusual to the Victorian. Though, maybe, I just know about them a little…

And at last, absolutely unexpectedly the book was read very easily, in a volley, with indefatigable interest. Only some egoists (the sir At. not one such, it is natural) enraged so that there was a wish to squeal to them on the head. But it isn’t boring. I advise, in a word.

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