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The Clarendon edition of Adam Bede (1859) is the first critical edition of the work that established George Eliot's reputation. Its extensive textual apparatus lists manuscript and first edition variants from the copy-text, which is the corrected eighth edition of 1861 - her last revision of the book. The introduction locates the genesis of the novel in Eliot's family history, her travels, and her reading of literature and biography, and describes the composition process, including her debate with the publisher John Blackwood about the suitability of the subject-matter for a family audience, as both author and publisher anticipated its appearing initially in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine. Using Blackwood's publication ledgers, it also establishes the details of the eleven complete or nearly complete resettings of the novel in Eliot's lifetime; and examines the author's revisions to a manuscript that is popularly, but erroneously, thought to have been little altered, giving detailed attention to the dialect in the context of more than 900 variants between manuscript and first edition.