Short Stories

Brother Jacob

On a visit to town young David Faux sees a high class confectioner’s shop. It leads him to believe that confectioners must  be the happiest and most popular of tradesmen, and so when it comes to the time for him to take up a trade he becomes a confectioner. But when David finds that the reality of life as a confectioner has more work and less status than he imagined, he decides that his future lies elsewhere. Some years later and some miles away a new confectioner’s shop  opens. The proprietor, Edward Freely, establishes himself in society and is clearly set to make a great match with the local squire’s daughter.  Despite being one of her lesser known novels, Brother Jacob provides a lighter introduction to George Eliot.

 

The Lifted Veil

'She had believed that my wild poet's passion for her would make me her slave; and that, being her slave, I should execute her will in all things.' The Lifted Veil was first published in Blackwood's Magazine in 1859. A dark fantasy woven from contemporary scientific interest in the physiology of the brain, mesmerism, phrenology and experiments in revivification it is Eliot's anatomy of her own moral philsophy - the ideal of imaginative sympathy or the ability to see into others' minds and emotions. Narrated by an egocentric, morbid young clairvoyant man whose fascination for Bertha Grant lies partly in her obliquity, the story also explores fiction's ability to offer insight into the self, as well as being a remarkable portrait of a misdeveloped artist whose visionary powers merely blight his life.

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