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Title: The construction of realism in the novels of George Eliot.
Author: Norgan, J.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3448 7943
Awarding Body: University of Wales, College of Cardiff,
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 1990
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Drawing on recent developments in the theory of language and literature, this work explores the realism of George Eliot, with particular emphasis on how her novels, in various ways, show the linguistic and ideological conditions and constraints of the production of meaning in the genre of realism. Chapter 1 presents an introduction to the main issues at stake in realism and defines the key terms 'realism' and 'ideology' in preparation for the rest of the thesis. Chapter 2 then follows the introduction by looking at Eliot's first novel, Adam Bede, and suggesting ways in which a poststructuralist view of realism might contribute to an understanding of that novel. Chapters 3 and 4 place Eliot's realism in perspective by looking at the realism of Anthony Trollope and Elizabeth Gaskell and identifying a number of key features and problems of realism generally. Chapters 5,6 and 7 analyse The Mill on the Floss, Romola, Felix Holt, Middlemarch, and Daniel Deronda to trace a number of developments in Eliot's realist fiction. Eliot's philosophy extols a number of key moral concepts, such as sympathy, fellow-feeling and the organic and communal nature of society, and ground these in a realist philosophy of meaning and representation. At the same time, some of the key-features of her fiction enforce contradictions in her narrative materials which question the traditional metaphysical assumptions of realism and reveal the essentially constructed and ideological nature of that genre. The last three chapters attempt to describe and explain the ways in which Eliot's narratives both affirm and, increasingly, undermine the premisses and assumptions of nineteenth-century realism.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available