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A novel by G. Eliot, published 1863.

The background of the novel is Florence at the end of the 15th cent., the troubled period, following the expulsion of the Medici, of the expedition of Charles VIII, distracted counsels in the city, the excitement caused by the preaching of Savonarola, and acute division between the popular party and the supporters of the Medici. The story is that of the purification by trials of the noble‐natured Romola, devoted daughter of an old blind scholar. Into their lives comes a clever, adaptable young Greek, Tito Melema, whose self‐indulgence develops into utter perfidy. He robs, and abandons in imprisonment, the benefactor of his childhood, Baldassare. He cruelly goes through a mock marriage ceremony with the innocent little contadina Tessa. After marrying Romola he wounds her deepest feelings by betraying her father's solemn trust. He plays a double game in the political intrigues of the day. Nemesis pursues and at last overtakes him in the person of old Baldassare, who escapes from imprisonment crazed with sorrow and suffering. Romola, with her love for her husband turned to contempt and her trust in Savonarola destroyed, is left in isolation, from which she is rescued by the discovery of her duty in self‐sacrifice.

Subjects: Literature.

Reference entries

George Eliot (1819—1880) novelist

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