English, Department of


Date of this Version


Document Type



The George Eliot Review 47 (2016)


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


With a single drop of ink for a mirror, the Egyptian sorcerer undertakes to reveal to any chance corner far-reaching visions of the past. This is what I undertake to do for you, reader. With this drop of ink at the end of my pen, I will show you the roomy workshop of Mr Jonathan Burge, carpenter and builder, in the village of Hayslope, as it appeared on the eighteenth of June, in the year of our Lord 1799.

Many scholars and critics have discussed the symbolic significance of the famous opening sentence of Adam Bede and related it to George Eliot's own narrative method, but the precise workings of the Egyptian sorcerer's magical exercise in divination have received little attention.