Date of Award
Master of Arts
George Eliot, the first English novelist to move in the vanguard of the thought and learning of her day, added new scope and dignity to the English novel.
Neither profundity of thought nor quantity of learning is necessarily an asset to the novelist; there have "been great novelists who lacked both, and there are scholars and philosophers who have written bad novels. But a powerful mind operating naturally through the medium of fiction does produce novels with merits all their own, and George Eliot, who had an eye for character, and an ear for dialogue, and a clear sense of the social and economic conditions which govern men's daily living, as well as unusual intelligence and knowledge, can be said to have made the novel intellectually respectable without losing anything of its qualities of liveliness or entertainment. George Eliot, who was both idealist and agnostic and derived both idealism and her agnosticism from her own intellectual inquires into moral and religious questions, had had her own answer to these difficulties; she was too intelligent to ever try to solve a moral problem by mere sentimentality.
In all her fiction, George Eliot was concerned with moral problems of character, but she never abstracted her characters from their environment in order to illustrate their moral dilemmas.
It must be remembered that George Eliot was one of the Victorian sages as well as a novelist, one of those who worried, thought, and argued about religion, ethics, history, and character with all the concern felt by those most receptive to the currents of new ide^s flowing in on Victorian thought. She was most sensitive to their implications. A sage whose moral vision is most effectively communicated through realistic fiction is an unusual phenomenon-or at least was unusual at the time when George Eliot began to write. If it has become less unusual since, that is because George Eliot by her achievement in fiction permanently enlarged the scope of the novel.
A. L. Campbell
Prairie View Agricultural And Mechanical College
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Date of Digitization
John B Coleman Library
City of Publication
West, T. D. (1969). A Study Of Reflections Of George Eliot's Religious And Philosophical Thought As Seen Through Characters In Adam Bede And Middlemarch. Retrieved from https://digitalcommons.pvamu.edu/pvamu-theses/1412