George Eliot’s ‘The Lifted Veil’ : A Sequential and Contextual Reading book cover
1st Edition

George Eliot’s ‘The Lifted Veil’
A Sequential and Contextual Reading

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after December 28, 2021
ISBN 9781032156422
December 28, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
280 Pages

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Book Description

The negative historical judgment given to George Eliot’s ‘The Lifted Veil’ amounts nowadays to a gross critical blunder, and in the last three decades the story has been firmly reinstated in Eliot’s major canon. The premise of the present book is that GE’s oeuvre is a compact macrotext where themes, motifs, patterns and cultural and personal archetypes recur with variations, and that ‘The Lifted Veil’ functions as the linchpin of this oeuvre. The sequential approach here adopted is authorized by the use of a mimetic enunciation that simulates a gradual ‘definition’ of events, places and characters as they have appeared to the narrating ‘I’ in the course of time until the moment of the enunciation. Contextualizing ‘The Lifted Veil’ means placing it within Eliot’s oeuvre and against the background of Victorian mid-century fiction; in a further meaning, seeing it as intersecting various contemporary genres and subgenres, such as that of the European and American ‘literature of the veil’, that of the archetypal icon of the femme fatale, that of Wilkie Collins’s ‘dead secret’ novels. The most significant facet that critical literature on ‘The Lifted Veil’ has tended to overlook is the encrypting of the experience of a failed religious conversion and its foreshadowing of the search for a spiritual and racial identity of Daniel Deronda, the hero of Eliot’s final novel.

Table of Contents



‘Restless weary wanderings’


The road to ‘The Lifted Veil’


The title

The epigraph

Narration, metanarration, technique

Times, names, places

‘Full of German lyrics’


The religious trail

A Jewish epiphany?

Bertha in Geneva and Vienna


The two cultures

The mesmeric theme


The poisoning woman

The blood transfusion


The aftermath

The road to Daniel Deronda

‘The Lifted Veil’

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Franco Marucci is a retired professor of English at the universities of Siena, Florence and Venice "Ca’ Foscari". His main publications in English include The Fine Delight that Fathers Thought: Rhetoric and Medievalism in Gerard Manley Hopkins (Washington 1994), History of English Literature (Oxford 2018-2019, in 8 volumes subdivided into 19 Books) and Authors in Dialogue: Comparative Essays in Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century English Literature (Oxford 2020). As a creative writer he is the author of the novels Pentapoli (Florence 2011) and Altomare (Rome 2020).