Adam Bede, George Eliot observes,
Our deeds determine us, as much as we determine our deeds; and until we know what has been or will be the peculiar combination of outward with inward facts, which constitute a man's critical actions, it will be better not to think ourselves wise about his character (412).
This statement contains a number of key ideas about human values, perceptions, and knowledge. It contains the idea that we should not judge a book by its cover, but it goes further than this. It carries within it the ancient argument about where character is found, whether formed by nature or nurture, by something inherent or something learned. It suggests that we are all equally complex and formed through the same sorts of interactions with our environment and with others. It is a compressed statement of these ideas because it is structured in the following manner, carrying…… [Read More]
Adam Bede, George Eliot uses some of the conventions of the omantic novel while violating others. In the end the book asks us, as readers, to answer the fundamental question posed in so many books written within the omantic tradition: Do the hero and heroine live happily ever after? But this is not the mindlessly vacuous posing of that question that we come across in so many works, for Eliot is far too intelligent a writer simply to ask us whether a particular romantic pairing will turn out well. ather, behind the question of what happens to particular characters is - for Eliot as well as for ourselves - the larger question of what makes a human life happy. It is Eliot's insistence that we examine the nature of love, the position of the individual in the society that she is writing about, and the importance of fate as opposed…… [Read More]
George Eliot and Feminism
Given, a man with moderate intellect, a moral standard not higher than the average, some rhetorical affluence and a great glibness of speech, what is the career in which, without the aid of birth or money, he may most easily attain power and reputation in English society? Where is that Goshen of mediocrity in which a smattering of science and learning will pass for profound instruction, where platitudes will be accepted as wisdom, bigoted narrowness as holy zeal, unctuous egoism as God-given piety?"
George Eliot, "Evangelical Teaching: Dr. Cumming," an essay ridiculing the career of evangelism, printed in "Westminster Review," 1850s
In this day and age, books are being written with a motive to inculcate motives, teaching the readers a lesson every time they open the book.
Good books always serve as a constructive way to provoke idle thoughts. Women started writing as a profession back…… [Read More]
From these examples there is a varied sense of the realism of Eliot in both her prose and her poems. The realism of Eliot demonstrates a reflection of the era. The naturalist and realism movements were ingrained in the Victorian 19th century and yet the descriptive nature of Eliot's works make them in many ways timeless. The characters are enveloped with the reader into the surroundings of events of human social drama.
Eliot, George. The Best-Known Novels of George Eliot: Adam Bede, the Mill on the Floss, Silas Marner, Romola. New York: Modern Library, 1940.
Eliot, George, Brother and Sister
Eliot, George, Two Lovers
Eliot, George in a London Drawingroom
Eliot, George, Mid my Gold-brown Curls
Eliot, George, Two Lovers, in Stevenson, Burton Egbert. The Home Book of Verse. At http://www.famouspoetsandpoems.com/poets/george_eliot/poems/3456
Pizer, Donald. Realism and Naturalism in Nineteenth-Century American Literature. Revised ed. Carbondale, IL:…… [Read More]
All without distinction were branded as fanatics and phantasts; not only those, whose wild and exorbitant imaginations had actually engendered only extravagant and grotesque phantasms, and whose productions were, for the most part, poor copies and gross caricatures of genuine inspiration; but the truly inspired likewise, the originals themselves. And this for no other reason, but because they were the unlearned, men of humble and obscure occupations. (Coleridge iographia IX)
To a certain extent, Coleridge's polemical point here is consistent with his early radical politics, and his emergence from the lively intellectual community of London's "dissenting academies" at a time when religious non-conformists (like the Unitarian Coleridge) were not permitted to attend Oxford or Cambridge: he is correct that science and philosophy were more active among "humble and obscure" persons, like Joseph Priestley or Anna Letitia arbauld, who had emerged from the dissenting academies because barred (by religion or gender)…… [Read More]