Download George Eliot: The Novels (Analysing Texts) by Mike Edwards PDF

By Mike Edwards

This quantity courses scholars via Eliot's most generally studied novels: The Mill at the Floss, Silas Marner and Middlemarch. the 1st a part of the ebook relies on research of extracts grouped through issues together with relationships, society and morality. on the finish of every bankruptcy , a "Methods" part deals principles for autonomous research. the second one half describes Eliot's biographical, cultural and highbrow atmosphere, and offers readings of consultant serious writing.

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Sample text

Pascal and Jeremy Taylor cannot prepare her for the limitations of Edward Casaubon, nor for the varieties of perfidy housed in the rest of the society of Middlemarch. Almost before we have begun, it seems, Dorothea runs the risk of dismissal as an over-emotional girl. Her religious tendencies are perhaps not rational, but the product merely of an over-sensitive nature. Eliot’s language (‘eccentric’, ‘anxieties’, ‘theoretic’, ‘yearned’, ‘lofty’, ‘enam- Beginnings 23 oured’, ‘rash’, ‘martyrdom’) implies excess, lack of judgement, immaturity.

The sequence is apparent in the extract, where Mrs Tulliver’s cliché at the beginning, ‘for shame’, which helps to inspire Maggie’s actions, becomes transmuted at the end into real shame into which she has been betrayed by ‘passionate impulse’ (p. 121). Though her act derives from resentment against Mrs Tulliver’s slavery to convention as well as against the idolisation of the Lucy figure, she nevertheless loves Lucy dearly and remains always loyal to her mother. She will not willingly offend them, or her brother.

Both moments are comic: but the range of relevant resonance in the later novel is much wider. George Eliot here presents herself uncompromisingly as a very serious writer with concerns about the real world. Her tone of ironic humour does nothing to diminish the impression, and rather strengthens it. Each of the earlier novels opens in a distinctive manner. The opening of The Mill on the Floss is marked out by Eliot’s sensitivity 26 Analysing George Eliot’s Novels to the natural environment, to the seasons and their effect on rural life.

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