(So great was the immediate success of Adam Bede when it made its first appearance — in volume form, in February 1859 — that its publisher John Blackwood asked George Eliot if she had a story for his magazine. She had almost completed ‘The Lifted Veil’, and sent it a month later; it appeared in the July number of Blackwood’s Magazine. Her ‘private critic’ Lewes aptly described it as ‘very striking and original’, whereas she referred to it as ‘a slight story of an outré kind — not a jeu d’esprit but a jeu de mélancolie’. She had begun it during a period of depression after starting The Mill on the Floss. The opening chapters of this novel had awakened memories of a childhood in which so much of her happiness had depended on the goodwill and approval of her brother Isaac (as may be seen in the ‘Brother and Sister’ sonnets). Strictly religious, he had refused to recognise her marriage, simply because it could not be sanctified by the church; and it was from this severance of ties, and the ache to renew them, that the crux of her novel was to develop. The mélancolie which made her ‘too stupid’ to continue her ‘more important work’ was the inspiration of ‘The Lifted Veil’, and it is clearly expressed at a personal level in the conclusion which introduces it.
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- 4.Robert Potter, The Tragedies of Aeschylus (2 vols, translation, 1777) 6th ed. (1833). Philip Francis’s translation of Horace (1757).Google Scholar