Hard Cover. Edinburgh: William Blackwood and Sons, 1866. 1st Edition. Near Fine.
Three volumes. First edition, in Carter's "A" binding (the earliest), with half-titles, 24 (4+20_ pages of publisher advertisements at the rear of Vol. III (not mentioned in Sadleir). Publisher's cinnamon cloth, decorative borders stamped in blind to the boards, spines lettered in gilt, pale yellow coated endpapers. An excellent set, with some light wear to the extremities, some rubbing to the hinges, faint spotting to the spines, bright gilt, former owner's bookplates to the front pastedowns, a few faint spots of scattered spotting to the otherwise bright and clean pages. A near fine, unsophisticated set. Felix Holt the Radical is a social novel by Mary Anne Evans, a top writer of the Victorian Era who chose to write under a male pseudonym so that her works would be taken more seriously. In addition to writing novels, she edited and contributed to the left-wing journal The Westminster Review as one of the only female editors of her time. Her novels were praised for being socially and politically conscious and realistic depictions of country life. In Felix Holt, Eliot examines the social changes that occurred in the English countryside as a result of the Frist Reform Act of 1832, which reformed Parliament to reflect the new urban and rural dynamics that resulted from the Industrial Revolution. Rather than explain the events leading up to this reform, Eliot focuses on how public political policies affect the private lives of rural Englishmen. Felix Holt tells the story of a tumultuous election in the fictional town Treby in the English Midlands, a small village previously unaffected by political goings-on that has been thrust into political turmoil by the Reform Act. Published around the time of the Second Reform Act of 1867, which extended enfranchisement to the working class, nearly doubling England's number of eligible voters, Felix Holt is a retrospective text that considers past legislation in juxtaposition with the new reform.