Reading for Our Time: Adam Bede and Middlemarch Revisited

Overview


A masterclass in attentive reading that opens up brilliant insights into two of George Eliot's novels Can reading Adam Bede and Middlemarch be justified in this time of climate change, financial meltdown and ineffective politicians? J. Hillis Miller shows how, to be read for today, they must be read slowly, closely and carefully, with much attention to linguistic detail and especially to figures of speech. By relating mistakes like Dorothea's about Casaubon to current affairs, Miller's 'readings for today' can ...
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Reading for Our Time: 'Adam Bede' and 'Middlemarch' Revisited

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Overview


A masterclass in attentive reading that opens up brilliant insights into two of George Eliot's novels Can reading Adam Bede and Middlemarch be justified in this time of climate change, financial meltdown and ineffective politicians? J. Hillis Miller shows how, to be read for today, they must be read slowly, closely and carefully, with much attention to linguistic detail and especially to figures of speech. By relating mistakes like Dorothea's about Casaubon to current affairs, Miller's 'readings for today' can help us to come to terms with our human, social and political situation and even inspire us to act to ameliorate it.
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Editorial Reviews

Choice
Any scholar who wishes to think seriously about Eliot's fiction must read this book.... Highly recommended.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780748647286
  • Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/2012
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 216
  • Sales rank: 1,411,798
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

J. Hillis Miller is Distinguished Research Professor at the University of California at Irvine

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Table of Contents

Foreword: Required Reading or "Some of Us, at Least" Julian Wolfreys vii

Prelude xi

Acknowledgments xv

1 Realism Affirmed and Dismantled in Adam Bede 1

Adam Bede and Romanticism 2

Adam Bede as Paradigmatic Realist Novel 6

Challenges to the Paradigm of Realism in Adam Bede 12

Four Passages Challenging Mimetic Realism 14

What Do These Passages Really Say? 21

The Irony of Mistaken Interpretation in Adam Bede 23

Hetty Sorrel as Sophist Figure 25

Adam Bede as a Story about the Reading of Signs and as a Text to be Read 27

Repetition in Adam Bede 29

The Community Restored 32

2 Reading Middlemarch Right for Today 36

Totalization Affirmed and Undermined in Middlemarch 36

Versions of Totalization 36

Middlemarch as Pseudo-History 39

Demystification of the Connection of Narrative and History 47

Totalizing Metaphors in Middlemarch 51

Middlemarch as Fractal Pattern 56

Middlemarch as Web 57

Middlemarch as Stream 59

Minutiae in Middlemarch 59

Triumph of Metaphorical Totalization 61

The Optical Metaphor 62

Creative Seeing as the Will to Power: The Parable of the Pier-Glass 64

Human Beings as False Interpreters 68

3 Chapter Seventeen of Adam Bede: Truth-Telling Narration 70

Down with the Art of the Unreal! 74

The Language of Realism 78

Performative Undecidability 82

4 Returning to Middlemarch: Interpretation as Naming and (Mis)Reading 87

Interpretation as the Creation of Totalizing Emblems 93

Money as Metaphor 96

The Boomerang Effect of the Monetary Metaphor 106

Money as Universal Measure 111

The Uses of Art 114

Conclusions About Metaphor 117

O Aristotle! 119

The Roar on the Other Side of Silence 128

The Ruin of Totalization in a Cascade of Misreadings: A Summary Description of the Ground Gained So Far 134

Form as Repetition in Unlikeness 138

A Finale in Which Nothing is Final 145

Dorothea's Limitless "Yes" 150

Dorothea as Ariadne 154

George Eliot's Life and Work as an Uneven Tissue of Ungrounded Repetitions 159

Coda 166

Notes 171

Index 187

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