First published in 1998, this volume proposes to shift the critical emphasis from a canonical author to her uncanonical text – from George Eliot to her novel Romola – and contends that this choice both broadens the range of interpretive possibilities and brings them into sharper focus.
The editors invited a variety of critics to put their different critical models to work on Romola and the results are fertile and suggestive: among the issues explored here are the domestic politics of marriage, the relationship between narrative and epistemology, the materiality of the text, the novel’s relation to nineteenth-century narratives of martyrdom, and the gendering of space. Such theoretical eclecticism, when focused on a common reference point, necessarily opens out into a dialogue among critical and interpretive models. Theory throws light onto Romola, just as Romola throws light onto theory.
Part I. Rethinking the Text. 1. George Eliot v. Frederic Leighton: Whose Text is it Anyway? Mark W. Turner. 2. The Texts of Romola. Andrew Brown. Part II. Rethinking the Heroine. 3. Mapping Romola: Physical Space, Women’s Place. Shona Elizabeth Simpson. 4. ‘Telling the Whole’: Trauma, Drifting and Reconciliation in Romola. Julian Corner. 5. From Romola to Romola: The Complex Act of Naming. Susan M. Bernardo. Part III. Rethinking Authority. 6. George Eliot Martyrologist: The Case of Savanarola. David Carroll. 7. Power and Persuasion: Voices of Influence in Romola. Beryl Gray. 8. The Prophetic Fallacy: Realism, Foreshadowing and Narrative Knowledge in Romola. Caroline Levine. 9. ‘An Imperceptible Start’: The Sight of Humanity in Romola. Chris Greenwood. 10. Angels and Archangels: Romola and the Paintings of Florence. Leonee Ormond.
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