“National-Historical Time” from Goethe to George Eliot
This chapter isolates the Bakhtinian concept of the national chronotope as central to the theory (Lukács, Moretti) and practice (Goethe, Scott, Dickens) of the bildungsroman. In the chapter, a detailed reading of Eliot's The Mill on the Floss anchors a genealogical survey of the generic ideal of bounded progress as, first, a German philosophical concept and, second, a British literary motif. After Eliot, and with increasingly visible effects in literary history, modernism's untimely youths register the powerful unsettling effects of the colonial encounter on humanist ideals of national culture and aesthetic education that had, from the time of Goethe and Schiller, determined the inner logic of the bildungsroman. The modernist novel of frozen or untimely youth responds to an intensive phase of globalization and registers the end of a Eurocentric metahistorical narrative of progress and, at another level, the assimilation of lost progressivism into the fictional language of self-cultivation.
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.