The great English writer and friend of Israel
There may seem to be a lack of painting and excess of moralizing in regards to the characters, but those are no faults: Eliot writes so well, and tells us what is inside people so well, that we care nothing for what they look like, how they dress, or whether the sky was clear that day or cloudy. We get to live under the same skin as the characters', and that's the most difficult thing to achieve in a book. And what if the improbable moral perfection of the Jewish characters contrasts against the more interesting, however vain, English ones? Well, of course it does, and that was the purpose. If we don't like it that way: if we prefer the Gentile characters, the unchristian Christians, against the Jewish Jews, we are only making a statement about ourselves.
Eliot made her statement about the Jewish question in this novel. She made it beautifully. I think there's no doubt this is a great book -not as great as Middlemarch, of course, but a great novel.
The author's undaunted intent on bringing the Jewish element to the foreground of the story may cause unsympathetic reactions from the readers, especially those prejudiced against the Jewish predicament and those easily charmed by the tempting naughtiness of Gwendolen: the Jewish element is there, nonetheless, and one must take in one with the other.
If there is a political statement within this novel, a prophetic Zionism, which by and by proved true, one can only be amazed at how prescient this eloquent lady was. I am more than ever interested in knowing about George Eliot's life, and I have now finished reading “The Jewish Odyssey of George Eliot”, which -though not a biography, I do recommend to George Eliot fans, since it throws more light on the character and the times of this courageous English woman who died in 1880.