Please come to Angela Runciman’s talk “Angel of History”: George Eliot’s Modernist Turn”
When and where? this Monday, April 27th at 1.30 pm in LT1506 (15th floor Library Tower).
Here’s Angela’s abstract:
“In July 1854, Marian Evans embarked on a honeymoon trip with George Henry Lewes, the events surrounding which—as cited by several critics, such as Gregory Maertz—influencing her career move from translation and criticism to fiction. In addition to critics’ general focus on her German travel as formative in her career shift to “George Eliot,” I cite a moment in Cologne recorded in Evans’s journal hitherto critically overlooked as the perspective of an “uninformed tourist.” It is following this trip that Evans develops a working theory of fiction in her 1856 essay, “The Natural History of German Life.”
It is evident throughout her body of work that Eliot experiments with this theory; what some critics call “inconsistency,” I refer to as flexibility and fluidity, changing and responding to the sharp cultural shifts of her milieu. During her fiction career, the literary world faces serialization and sensation (popular) fiction; the growth of the city and anonymity in its crowds; the Woman Question, scientific advancement, and the Industrial Revolution. In my dissertation, I argue that the critical responses to these moments in her novels—which reexamine and “reclaim” historical spaces, going back as far as 15th-century Florence in Romola—necessitate breaks with Victorian narrative tradition in a move toward the modern. This talk will focus on the specifically German travel and thought which inform and influence Eliot’s “work” of art and—much to the disappointment of certain feminist critics—the strategic, and even purposeful, ways in which she limits her heroines’ potential.”
See you there!