George Eliot
George Eliot

George Eliot

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  • Pages: 12 (5841 words)
  • Published: October 27, 2017
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Heraclitus was a Greek philosopher who maintained that strife and change are natural conditions of the universe. I am interested in philosophy and when reading recently about Heraclitus it came to mind that his “Logos,” theory reminded me very much of George Eliot’s writing style! It seems odd to parallel the teachings of a Greek philosopher to a Victorian novelist, but it may become clearer as I explain a bit more about this “Logos,” that Heraclitus talked of, and tell you a little about George Eliot’s life before she began writing fiction.George Eliot was born Mary Ann (later Marian) Evans in 1819 near Nuneaton, England and died in 1880. She began writing fiction at the age of 38 and wrote a few novels, “Middlemarch,” being her final one.

Until she began her fictional career she had worked as a rationalist journalist, and it was in this career that she reviewed learned books on religion and philosophy. She was a very learned woman and one who was the friend of many men even more learned than herself.The quotation below, taken from “The English Novel,” by Walter Allen, perhaps links to her previous career in reviewing learned books; George Eliot lived in a much larger world of ideas, ideas which conditioned her views of fiction, the shape her novels took, and the very imagery of her prose. ” George Eliot’s learning helped shape her ideas about how society should act. Her Puritan background also helped shape her writing. As a young child she was brought up as a Puritan but at a relatively early

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age she rejected mainstream Puritan values and formed her own opinions of religion.

Even though we know she, in a sense, rejected the Puritan religion, we can see that there are still some Puritan values in her mind somewhere.Most people who have some sort of religious faith have morals based on this faith, and moral values play a strong part in “Middlemarch. ” After reading “Middlemarch,” it would seem the she intended to expose flaws in her characters in order to show the reader of their own weaknesses. In this sense “Middlemarch,” can be described as a satirical novel.

George Eliot didn’t simply set out to write a good novel. She set out with the task of writing a novel that would express her views on society, one that would help people see the faults of themselves and their neighbours, and I think that her intention was fulfilled.In writing “Middlemarch,” she has written a novel that goes to great depths in relation to the study of characters, their analysis, plots, themes and ideas. The critic B. Ifor Evans in “A short history of English Literature says;” “In George Eliot’s work, one is aware of her desire to enlarge the possibilities of the novel as a form of expression: she wishes to include new themes, to penetrate more deeply into character.

” To explain the “Logos,” theory one simply has to say that Heraclitus thought the world was one in which the only possible harmony was a delicate tension of opposing stresses.It was not however a world of chaos,

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of strife and perpetual change in which there was no order, there was a living law called “Logos,” which kept things in balance. In “Middlemarch,” George Eliot has written a novel that incorporates many plots and themes and ties them together in such a fluid way that they all seem to interact seamlessly. We see through the course of the book how the actions of separate individuals can cause other individuals to change the course of their lives, there are many examples of this, and I will study some in greater detail later in this assignment.It is in this way that “Middlemarch,” reminds me of the “Logos,” idea.

Every character and plot is equally and indivisibly linked, and the actions of one individual affect society as a whole. Society as a whole perpetually changes and interacts just as the natural world does, and the society in Victorian times was overshadowed by the moral and social expectations that people had of each other. The ‘living law’ in Victorian times for some people, for example Dorothea, was a moral law, she lived to do what was morally right in her eyes.Some others, like Rosamond, lived by the law of society. She aimed to do what would please her suitors and peers, she did things that would cause her character to seem flawless, going to a finishing school, playing pleasant songs on the piano, acting like a lady and so on. Before writing this assignment, I thought it would be worthwhile to research a little about George Eliot’s other novels.

Although I haven’t read them I wanted to see if I could find how George Eliot progressed through her works in terms of social and moral analysis.In terms of her literary history, “Middlemarch,” was George Eliot’s final novel. “Adam Bede,” and “The Mill on the Floss,” are some of her others. I found an appropriate article online, taken from “The Atlantic Monthly,” which was originally published in June 1860. It reviews “The Mill on the Floss,” and compares it to George Eliot’s previous books. “It displays a far keener insight into human passion, a subtler analysis of motives and principles, and it suggests a mental and a moral philosophy nobler in themselves and truer to humanity and religion.

Reading this quotation, without knowing which of her books they were talking about, we could easily interpret it to have been about “Middlemarch,” for in “Middlemarch” George Eliot analyses the motives and principles of characters in great depth, possibly even more so than she did in “The Mill on the Floss. ” From reading through other critical evaluations of her previous novels I can see that George Eliot was extremely interested in social and moral analysis, and I think that in “Middlemarch,” this is clear.Through the course of “Middlemarch” we analyse the actions of individual characters, and the opinions of society as a whole, without even realising it. It was only after reading the quotes that form the basis of my question that I realised how much discrimination is involved in reading the book. What I mean by discrimination is that when reading “Middlemarch” George

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