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.

Difficult as it was for a successful novelist to secure applause as a poet, George Eliot overcame the distrust of her admirers and gained also a not unmerited place as a poet.  Her verse has been a real addition to her work, and is likely to command an increasing interest in the future.  That it is not always successful from the merely artistic point of view, that it is not to be placed by the side of the best poetry of the time, is no reason why it will not appeal to many minds and enlist its own company of admirers.  Next after the universal poets are those who appeal to a select circle and charm a particular class of minds.  Among these George Eliot will stand as one of the foremost and one of those most worthy of homage.  As the poet of positivism, she will long delight those in sympathy with her teachings.  It would be extravagant praise to call her a second Lucretius, and yet that which has given the Roman author his place among poets will also give George Eliot rank in the same company.  With all his merits as a poet, it has not been his poetic power, or his love of nature, or his worth as an interpreter of human nature, which has given Lucretius his reputation as a poet.  With real poetic power,—­for he would have been a much smaller man without this,—­he combined a philosophic mind and a daring genius for speculation.  The poetry gave charm and ideal grandeur to the speculations, and the philosophy made the poetry full of meaning and earnest intellectual purpose.  He read life and nature with a keener eye and a more profound penetration than others of his time; he tried to grasp the secret of the universe, and because of it he left behind the touch of a strong mind.  In some such way as this, George Eliot’s poetry is likely to be read in the future.  As poetry merely, it cannot take high rank; but for the sake of its philosophy, which is conceived as a poet would conceive it, there is promise that its future is to be one that is lasting.  Even for poetry there must be thought, and the larger, profounder it is the better for the poetry, if it is imaginatively conceived and expressed.  It is not thought, or even philosophy, which annuls poetry, but want of ideal and creative insight.  To Goethe, Wordsworth or Browning there was a gain by enlargement of intellectual materials, but these were suffused in true poetic fire, and came forth a new creation.  In so far as George Eliot has attained this result is she a poet, and is she sure of the future suffrages of those who accept her philosophy.  At the least, her admirers must rejoice at the enlarged range of expression she secured by the use of the poetic form.

IX.

PHILOSOPHIC ATTITUDE.

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