George Eliot’s serious readers have been intrigued by the fact that she declared that she had lost her faith in God and had renounced her hope for a traditional Christian heaven and yet she continued to preach her own version of morality in everything she wrote, to hope for an immortality which allowed her to join an invisible choir which would influence generations to come, and to be concerned about the moral growth of her characters. This is only one of the many compelling contradictions in her life and in her artistry.
This volume aims to investigate Eliot’s ethical and artistic principles by defining her moral aesthetic as it relates to her self-concept and exploring Eliot’s narrative decisions and the decisions made by her characters and the circumstances which prompt those choices. Dr. Fulmer includes chapters on her clerical figures and other types of individuals such as musicians, and politicians. Dr. Fulmer also illuminates the paradoxes and contradictions in George Eliot’s life and in her philosophy by focusing on Eliot's use of animals, mirrors, windows, jewelry, wills and other tangible images in her poetry as well as her novels.
George Eliot’s Moral Aesthetic contends that everything about her moral philosophy is related to her writing and that everything about her writing is related to her moral philosophy.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Definition of George Eliot’s Moral Aesthetic
Chapter One: Development of George Eliot’s Moral Aesthetic
Chapter Two: The Word Made Flesh
Chapter Three: Self-Concept, Music, and Art
Chapter Four: Paradigms of Moral Atrophy and Growth
Chapter Five: Chosen by Hereditary Forces to be Other
Chapter Six: Contrasting Pairs, Mirrors, and Windows
Chapter Seven: Family Relationships and Jewelry
Chapter Eight: Collectors and Collections of Clerics
Chapter Nine: Political Reformers
Chapter Ten: Scenes Involving Animals
Chapter Eleven: Sacramental Scenes
Chapter Twelve: Wills and Inheritance
Chapter Thirteen: Forgiveness and the Law of LoveAppendix Excerpts: "Historic Guidance" and "Notes on The Spanish Gypsy"
Constance M. Fulmer is Professor of Victorian Literature and holds the Blanche E. Seaver Chair in English Literature at Seaver College, Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. She is working on a biography of Edith J. Simcox, and with Margaret E. Barfield, edited A Monument to the Memory of George Eliot: Edith J. Simcox’s Autobiography of a Shirtmaker (Garland, 1998). She has also published several articles on George Eliot and on Edith Simcox and an annotated bibliography of George Eliot criticism (G.K. Hall, 1977). She serves on the board of the Victorian Interdisciplinary Studies Association of the Western United States and is active in the British Women Writers Association. Her Ph.D. is from Vanderbilt University. She has been at Pepperdine since 1990 and served as Associate Dean of Seaver College from 2007 to 2016 and for eight years as Divisional Dean.