George Eliot; a Critical Study of Her Life, Writings & Philosophy eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 474 pages of information about George Eliot; a Critical Study of Her Life, Writings & Philosophy.
as real.  There is a light, a subtle aroma, a width of vision, a sense of reality, in their work from this source, which is wanting in George Eliot’s.  The illimitable mystery beyond the region of the real is the greatest fact man has presented to him, and that region is a reality in all the effects it works on humanity.  No poet can ignore it or try to limit it to humanity without a loss to his work.  It is this subtle, penetrative, aromatic and mystic power of the ideal which is most to be felt as lacking in the works of George Eliot.  Much as we may praise her, we can but feel this limitation.  Great as is our admiration, we can but feel that there is a higher range of poetic and artistic creation than any she reached.

The quotations presented from her early writings prove that George Eliot began her career as a novelist with a fully elaborated conception of the purposes of the novel and of the methods to be followed in its production.  She had thoroughly studied the subject, had read many of the best works of the best writers, and had formed a carefully digested theory of the novel.  That she could do this is rather an indication of critical than of creative power.  Her novels everywhere betray the greatness of her reasoning powers, that she was a thinker, that she had strong powers of intellectual analysis, and that she had a logical, accurate mind.  Had her mind taken no other direction than this, however, she never could have become a great novelist.  These essays indicated something beside powers of reasoning and psychological analysis.  They also indicated her capacity for imaginative insight into the motives and impulses of human nature, and an intuitive comprehension of what is most natural to human thought and action.  They showed appreciation of sympathy and feeling, and delicate perception of the finer cravings and tendencies of even the commonest souls.  They gave promise of so much creative power, her friends saw that in novel-writing she was to find the true expression of her large qualities of mind and heart.  The person who could so skilfully point out the faults in the poor novels rapidly issuing from the press, and realize the true indications of a master’s power in the creations of the literary artists, might herself possess the genius necessary to original work of her own.  Her early essays are now chiefly of value for this promise they give of larger powers than those which could be fully expressed in such work.  They prophesied the future, and made her friends zealous to overcome her own reluctance to enter upon a larger work.  She doubted her own genius, but it was not destined to remain unfruitful.

VIII.

POETIC METHODS.

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George Eliot; a Critical Study of Her Life, Writings & Philosophy from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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