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Issues of Masculinity and Femininity in Three Novels by George Eliot

By Susan Meikle

Abstract

My intention is to establish the usefulness of a practice of reading with reference to questions of sex and gender, to illuminate thereby certain less apparent, relatively unexplored dimensions of the novels, but also to relate those dimensions to certain critical questions which have long claimed attention. Thus the usefulness of my approach would be tested to some extent by its ability to offer insights into problems which are already agreed to exist. The relation of Maggie Tulliver to her environment and the question of solution to the conflict raised in The Mill on the Floss, for example, will be related closely to considerations of the possibilities of female experience which are allowed or disallowed by the text, rather than evaluated in purely moral or aesthetic terms; an investigation of the treatment of male and female spheres established in Middlemarch will offer perspectives on the familiar critical concerns with the novel's use of the web as a structuring device and with the role of the narrator; and, finally, analysis of the treatment of sex and gender in Daniel Deronda will suggest new ways of looking at the long-debated question of the relation between the two "halves" of that novel.\ud [Taken from the thesis Introduction

Publisher: University of Leicester
Year: 1981
OAI identifier: oai:lra.le.ac.uk:2381/7986

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