First published in 1984. Although Middlemarch was extravagantly praised by Henry James, Emily Dickinson and Virginia Woolf, it is only in the last few decades that the novel has been widely recognised as George Eliot’s finest work, one of the greatest English novels, and one of the classic texts of nineteenth-century fiction.
The intellectual, religious and aesthetic background to Middlemarch are fully examined, with particular attention paid to Eliot’s key doctrines of fellow-feeling and the humanistic economy of salvation. Professor McSweeney also provides fresh and thought-provoking discussions of the role of the omniscient narrator, and of character and characterisation. This title will be of interest to students of literature.
Author’s Preface; 1. Preliminary 2. Art, Ideas, Aesthetics 3. A Study of Provincial Life 4. The Narrator 5. Character and Characterisation 6. Dorothea 7. The Parts and the Whole 8. Critical History; Notes; Bibliography; Index