At a moment when Americans are divided about so much in our schools, from Critical Race Theory to masks and vaccines, we can draw succor from a rich cultural memory. There was a time when it was de rigueur for American schoolchildren to read Silas Marner, the Weaver of Raveloe (1861). George Eliot’s brief, jewel-like novel was on the syllabus for generations of students, helping to shape our national moral conscience. It had such a long run, being taught from the late nineteenth century well into the twentieth, that it became part of American pop culture. Last year was the 160th anniversary of the publication of Silas Marner. Though no longer a classroom staple, the novel continues to speak to the human experience, especially in Eliot’s exploration of alienation and spirituality and her celebration of...


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