Having finished Felix Holt on the last day of May 1866, Eliot left almost immediately for the Continent, according to her now well-established custom of seeking both refuge from the fuss of publication, and restoration of her health and well-being after the ‘dreadful nervousness and depression’ (IV, 265) of composition. It was to be five and a half years before she published another novel, the longest gap in her novelistic career. In the intervening period she turned her attention to poetry, first taking up once more her verse drama, The Spanish Gypsy, which appeared in April 1868, and subsequently producing a number of poems, which formed the bulk of her 1874 volume, The Legend of Jubal and Other Poems.
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