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The Victorian Geopolitical AestheticRealism, Sovereignty, and Transnational Experience$
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Lauren M. E. Goodlad

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198728276

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198728276.001.0001

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The Adulterous Geopolitical Aesthetic

The Adulterous Geopolitical Aesthetic

Romola Contra Madame Bovary

Chapter:
(p.161) 6 The Adulterous Geopolitical Aesthetic
Source:
The Victorian Geopolitical Aesthetic
Author(s):

Lauren M. E. Goodlad

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198728276.003.0006

This chapter explores George Eliot’s formal innovations in comparison to a French variation on the naturalistic narrative of capitalist globalization: Flaubert’s landmark novel of adultery, Madame Bovary. Recent scholarship on the “literary channel” between Britain and France has called attention to the dialogue of Anglo-French forms, yet Madame Bovary’s impact on the transnational marriage plot is as yet under-explored. A kind of Lukács avant la lettre, Eliot turned to historical fiction to bypass the naturalistic tendency to figure broken marriages like that of Trollope’s Ferdinand Lopez or Eliot’s own Gwendolen Harleth. Eliot’s historical novel draws on genres made famous by Scott and George Sand to imagine Romola as a world-historical Antigone. Whereas Eliot’s historical novel fills the need for a new kind of female subject, Daniel Deronda splits between naturalistic novel of adultery and utopian romance.

Keywords:   novel of adultery, Georg Lukács, Jacques Ranciere, Gustave Flaubert, realism, naturalism, George Eliot, Walter Scott, literary channel, marriage plot

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