George Eliot and the Conflict of Interpretations: A Reading of the Novels

George Eliot and the Conflict of Interpretations: A Reading of the Novels

by David Carroll
     
 

Two versions of George Eliot, both very influential, have emerged from the study of her life and work. One is the radical Victorian thinker, formidably learned in a whole range of intellectual disciplines, to which she made major contributions during her early years in London. The other is the reclusive novelist, enigmatic, sybilline, celebrating through her fiction… See more details below

Overview

Two versions of George Eliot, both very influential, have emerged from the study of her life and work. One is the radical Victorian thinker, formidably learned in a whole range of intellectual disciplines, to which she made major contributions during her early years in London. The other is the reclusive novelist, enigmatic, sybilline, celebrating through her fiction the communal values which were being eroded in the modern world. This study brings the two together, and by placing her within the crisis of belief and value acted out in the mid-nineteenth century, it reveals the unity of her whole career. George Eliot saw this crisis as one of interpretation, and the intensity of her writing comes from the vivid, almost apocalyptic, awareness that traditional modes of interpreting the world were breaking down irrevocably. This study shows how, in response to this, she redefined the nature of Victorian fiction--its presentation of character, the role of the narrator, the structure of narrative, the depiction of social and historical change. Each of her novels becomes an experiment which tests to the point of destruction a variety of Victorian myths, orthodoxies and ideologies, as it moves towards its climax--the inevitable contradiction which disconfirms all theories of life. George Eliot and the conflict of interpretations articulates the tension, novel by novel, between the writer's suspicion of orthodox creeds and her urgent need to restore values in a sceptical age. Each attempt to break through the conflict of interpretations acknowledges the urgency of the need and the provisional nature of any resolution.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'Meticulously researched and cogently argued, George Eliot and the Conflict of Interpretations is not only the most sophisticated reading of and arguably the best introduction to George Eliot's novels to date, but also one of the most distinguished recent contributions to the intellectual history of the Victorian period. Carroll's wide-ranging book will be essential reading not only for all students of Eliot's novels, but for the growing number of cultural historians concerned with the interplay of intellectual contexts and literature in the nineteenth century.' Anglia

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521024372
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
01/28/2006
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
348
Product dimensions:
5.98(w) x 9.02(h) x 0.79(d)

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