Adam Bede and Arthur Donnithorne’

Adam Bede and Arthur Donnithorne

William Small

Wood engraving by J. Cooper

5½ x 3½ inches

George Eliot,Adam Bede, facing 261.

Small’s illustrations are often moments of crisis, usually involving self-examination, and this powerful design is an effective showing of Adam’s transfixed horror as he contemplates the prostrate Arthur. The draughtsmanship here represents Small at his most accomplished, drawing a dramatic contrast between Arthur’s foreshortened figure and Adam’s muscular, awkward stance as he kneels ‘like an image of despair’ (261).

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