74 pages 2 hours read

George Eliot

Daniel Deronda

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1876

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Book 1, Chapters 1-10Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Book 1: “The Spoiled Child”

Book 1, Chapter 1 Summary

Daniel Deronda visits a bar in Germany. There, he sees a young woman playing roulette. He is fascinated by her appearance and her gaze, but also repulsed. The young woman is Gwendolen Harleth. Though she enjoys a string of victories, she starts to lose after noticing Deronda watching her. She maintains her composure throughout her losses, hoping that this mysterious stranger will at least admire her “mood of defiance” (6). After the game, the other guests compliment her serpent-like manner. Later, Gwendolen is told that Deronda is a relation of Sir Hugo Mallinger. Feeling bored with her life, Gwendolen says that she would like to meet the mysterious stranger.

Book 1, Chapter 2 Summary

Gwendolen is on a tour of Europe with the Langens, her cousins. Fanny Davilow, Gwendolen’s mother, writes to her daughter. She asks Gwendolen to come home due to a family emergency. Gwendolen learns that the collapse of a large bank has caused Gwendolen’s family—as well as her Aunt Gascoigne—to lose all their money. The Gascoigne family has only lost the small amount of money that Mr. Gascoigne saved during his time as a priest, so his family is able to continue living in the rectory. The Davilow family, meanwhile, must leave their home.