Looking Good: Style and Its Absence in George Eliot
George Eliot’s most successful characters tend to show a marked disdain for the fluctuations of fashion. Felix Holt, Dorothea Brooke, Daniel Deronda: all of these are represented as figures who couldn’t care less about what’s in style at any given moment. This chapter works to understand how the novel as a system is able to produce the effect of stylelessness in the novel and at what cost. It argues, in other words, that in all of Eliot’s novels and especially in Middlemarch, the absence of style is the result not only of rigged comparisons with those who have already fallen into mere stylishness, but also of competitions between differently valued narrative techniques. That is, at exactly the moment when we would expect Middlemarch to be its best, we find it passionately caught up in a game it seemed at first unwilling even to play.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.