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Thinking Through StyleNon-Fiction Prose of the Long Nineteenth Century$
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Michael D. Hurley and Marcus Waithe

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198737827

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198737827.001.0001

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‘Just Proportions’

‘Just Proportions’

The Material of George Eliot’s Writing

Chapter:
(p.167) 10 ‘Just Proportions’
Source:
Thinking Through Style
Author(s):

Dinah Birch

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198737827.003.0011

George Eliot’s style developed during her early years as an exceptionally cultured journalist, translator, and editor, building a relation with her readers that rested on the authority of her wide-ranging scholarly and scientific references. But she also cautioned her readers about the limits of learning, and the need to locate knowledge in the context of sympathy. When she turned to fiction with the publication of Scenes of Clerical Life in 1857, she continued to build on these principles. An analysis of Middlemarch demonstrates that the flexible style of her mature writing continues to rest on a dazzling breadth of knowledge, coupled with an acknowledgement of the authority of feeling, and the moral responsibilities that are inseparable from our shared humanity.

Keywords:   George Eliot, style, authority, sympathy, knowledge, feeling, fiction, moral, Scenes of Clerical Life, Middlemarch

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