Category Archives: Eliot, George

This Week in My Classes (March 22, 2010)

This week I have the pleasure, if also the challenge, of starting up work on two tremendously interesting and intelligent novels. In British Literature Since 1800, we are turning to Ian McEwan’s Atonement; in my graduate seminar, it’s time for Daniel Deronda. Reading the first instalments over the past few days, I’m reminded how thrilling […]

File under "Education, Idealism About"

A snippet from Felix Holt, the Radical, which I have recently been poring over on behalf of a small project for Open Letters: All life seemed cheapened: as it might seem to a young student who, having believed that to gain a certain degree he must write a thesis in which he would bring his […]

Woolf on the Victorians: "I’m a good deal impressed"

From Virginia Woolf’s letters: Whatever one may say about the Victorians, there’s no doubt they had twice our – not exactly brains – perhaps hearts. I don’t know quite what it is; but I’m a good deal impressed. She had just been reading “the entire works of Mr. James Joyce, Wyndham Lewis, Ezra Pound, so […]

Look Who’s Talking in Middlemarch: Quiz Show Version

Sorting through a file of old teaching materials for Middlemarch this morning, I came across a worksheet I put together a few years ago when I assigned the novel for a course on ‘close reading.’ One of my goals was to help the students see the language of the novel up close, to appreciate how […]

The Wit and Wisdom of George Eliot (III)

Wit What does it say about the political tendency of a novel when Mr Brooke is its “Reform” candidate? Whatever it means at that interpretive level, for us as readers it means we get to enjoy his speeches: When Mr. Brooke presented himself on the balcony, the cheers were quite loud enough to counterbalance the […]

The Wit and Wisdom of George Eliot (II)

I just figured out that I’ve turned around approximately 150 student assignments already this term. No wonder my own wit and wisdom feel a bit strained and it’s so refreshing to spend time with someone whose fund of both seems inexhaustible. And so, without further ado, some more treats from this year’s reading of Middlemarch. […]

This Week in My Classes (November 3, 2009)

In Nineteenth-Century Fiction this week, we get to look at two of my favorite chapters in Middlemarch. Our general theme is the importance of looking at things from different perspectives–a simply idea but one that gets refracted in a number of different ways in the novel. On Monday I brought up the problem of achieving […]

The Wit and Wisdom of George Eliot (I)

In 1871 an enthusiastic young reader named Alexander Main received George Eliot’s permission to publish a collection of inspirational excerpts from her works; the volume was put out in 1872 by her usual publisher, John Blackwood (who nicknamed Main “the Gusher”), under the title Wise, Witty, and Tender Sayings of George Eliot. As I make […]

This Week in My Classes (October 26, 2009)

In Nineteenth-Century Fiction it’s (finally) time for Middlemarch. I’ve posted pretty often about teaching Middlemarch (see, for instance, here, here, and here), and you can hear me talk (fast) about it here, too, in an interview with fellow blogger and bibliophile Nigel Beale. For something just a bit different this time, I thought I’d post […]

"The True Genius of Her Writing"

Putting together some introductory notes for next week’s Middlemarch lectures, I was reminded (by Rosemary Ashton’s excellent biography) that Marian Evans’s 1855 essay “Evangelical Teaching: Dr. Cumming” was the piece that convinced her ‘husband,’ George Henry Lewes, “of the true genius of her writing.” Ashton suggests the essay “has one of the most arresting openings […]

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