Date of Award
College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, English and Literary Arts
Jan Gorak, Ph.D.
England, Fiction, Literature, Victorian
Although scholarly commentary of the last decade has engaged more intensively than ever with the content of George Eliot's ideas concerning nineteenth-century British culture, the devices and techniques Eliot employs in the transmission of those ideas remain less explored. Consequently, room exists for a study as attentive to the formal characteristics of Eliot's messages as recent scholars have been to the content of those messages. This dissertation seeks to elucidate the ways in which specific formal techniques that characterize Eliot's fictional work evince her engagement with the thinking of social theorists, particularly Ludwig Feuerbach. The project contends that Eliot internalizes Feuerbach's view that "man is God to man," injects that view into the formal techniques of her fiction, and then wields those techniques in an effort to elicit a sympathetic response from her audience, thereby initiating societal change. Unlike other critical commentary that treats the breadth of Eliot's views, this project restricts its focus to analyzing the ways in which the formal innovations Eliot deploys shape their author's complex and sometimes contradictory social vision. In the process of examining Eliot's efforts to change her audience, our understanding of her social project changes as well, as the provincial chronicler of Adam Bede becomes the student of the future in Daniel Deronda.
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Cyrus Seaberry Frost
Received from ProQuest
Frost, Cyrus Seaberry, ""The Sudden Thrill of That Change": Framing George Eliot's Social Vision" (2017). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1276.