Encouraged by the modest success of Scenes of Clerical Life, and by the assiduous enthusiasm of both her partner, George Lewes, and her publisher, John Blackwood, George Eliot began work on Adam Bede in October 1857, less than a fortnight after having despatched the conclusion of ‘Janet’s Repentance’. From the outset she signalled her intention to continue with the same dedicated realism of Scenes, promising Blackwood that her new tale would be ‘a country story — full of the breath of cows and the scent of hay’ (II, 387).
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