Adam Bede

Psychological Novel: Its Nature
George Eliot is a Victorian novelist, but in many ways she is the first of the great modern novelists. She is a modern in her high conception of her art, in her view of the novel as a serious art form and in her interest in the human psyche.
A psychological novelist analyses the motives, pulses and mental processes which move his characters to act in a particular way. He depicts the inner struggles of his characters and thus lays bare their souls before his reader. Thus in psychological novels there is much soul-dissection, as in the dramatic monologues of Browning, and the novel acquires a hard intellectual tone. Samuel Richardson, George Eliot, and George Meredith are some of the pioneers to be mentioned in this connection.
The Inner Action
George Eliot is an ‘intellectual novelist’ and she brought to bear on the art of the novelist an exceptionally well-cultivated and trained intellect, and extraordinary powers of observation and reasoning. Her concerns are primarily serious and intellectual, she is more concerned with the inner drama, the inner action, than with the presentation of the externals of character and action. She goes behind the external action, analyses the thought-processes, the motives, the springs of that action. Her novels are all novels of moral conflict, and the scene of that conflict is not the external world but the soul of the character concerned. Her novels are remarkable for their psychological realism, and this is her peculiar contribution to the English novel.
Spiritual Conflicts: Moral Disorder
She goes deep into the obscure recesses of human nature, and deals elaborately and in great variety with those spiritual conflicts and moral disorders which bring about the ruin and downfall of an individual. The tragedies which take place in her novels are all tragedies caused by some moral lapse or weakness, and George Eliot shows how that moral weakness slowly but inexorably operates within the human...