Adam Bede was a publishing triumph — the work that established George Eliot as both a ‘popular’ and a ‘great author’ (III, 33). Its success was doubly welcome, for not only did it bring a new level of financial security for Eliot, but it provided her with the kind of ‘warmly expressed sympathy which only popularity can win’, and of which, she confessed to her publisher, she was ‘much in need’ (III, 6). As well, however, it brought new fears, creating for the first time the pressure of ‘immense expectation’ (III, 270), and making the writing process for Eliot ‘a matter of more anxiety than ever’ (III, 185).
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