English, Department of


Date of this Version


Document Type



The George Eliot Review 22 (1991)


Published by The George Eliot Review Online https://GeorgeEliotReview.org


Gabriel WooIf' s second cassette of readings from George Eliot begins and ends with her poetry. However we assess the value of her poems, there can be no doubt that they raise issues that were fundamental to her. Nor can there be any doubt that the poetry is illuminated for us by the voice of the reader. His tenderly nostalgic interpretation of the Brother and Sister sequence is enlivened by glints of humour as George Eliot describes her devoted dependence on her "little man / Of forty inches", or reveals her excitement when she catches the' 'silver perch" - her sense of the marvellous mirrored in Gabriel' s rising voice. As we listen, we too are haunted by the poignancy of those childhood memories reawakened by love:

'" Tis love must see them, as the eye sees light." Time and again, Gabriel Woo If' s voice (which seems to love what it reads) made me see with clearer eyes lines of poetry I had forgotten or ignored: "sky and earth took on a strange new light."