George Eliot lived during the height of the Industrial Revolution, with several of her books being set earlier in its evolution. She gives hints and intimations of industrial smog and grind over the horizon, and the first tremors of social and economic seismic shifts.

In Adam Bede, written mid-19th century, she sets the story in 1799, in the countryside.  She paints an idyllic (idealistic?) picture of an agrarian community as sure of its rhythms and its place as the seasons, and a pre-industrial landscape of bucolic loveliness.  I liked this ‘gently-swelling meadow’.

‘… but on the north-western side, there was nothing to obstruct the view of gently-swelling meadow, and wooded valley, and dark masses of distant hill.’

Source: George Eliot, Adam Bede (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1985 (1859)), p. 61

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