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.
courage.  The effects of vice and sin are nowhere so finely presented and with such profound ethical insight.  A careful study of this character alone will give a clear comprehension of George Eliot’s conception of retribution, how the natural laws of life drag us down when we are untrue to ourselves and others.  It is a great moral lesson presented in this character, a sermon of the most powerful kind.  Nemesis follows Tito ever onward from the first false step, lowers the tone of his mind, corrupts his moral nature, drags him into an ever-widening circle of vice and crime, makes him a traitor, and causes him to be false to his wife.  Step by step, as he gives way to evil, we see the degradation of his heart and mind, how the unfailing Nemesis is wreaking its vengeance upon him.  He is surely punished, and his death is the fit end of his career.  We are shown how his evil deeds affect others, how the great law of retribution involves the innocent in his downfall.  Here George Eliot has unfolded for us how true it is that our lives are linked on every side with the lives of our fellows, and how the deeds of any one must affect for good or evil the lives of many others.

Almost every leading thought of George Eliot’s philosophy and ethics is unfolded in greater or less degree in this novel.  It is full of brave, wholesome teaching, and of clear insight into the consequences of conduct.

Romola is the most thoughtful, the most ambitious, the most philosophical of George Eliot’s works; and it is also the most lacking in spontaneity, and more than any other shows the evidences of the artist’s labors.  Yet by many persons it will be accepted as the greatest of her works, and not without the best of reasons.  It contains some of her most original characters, gives a remarkable emphasis to great moral laws, and interprets the spiritual influence of the conflict which is ever waging between tradition and advancing culture as no other has done.  It is a thought-provoking book, a book of the highest moral aims.

XV.

FELIX HOLT AND MIDDLEMARCH.

The scenes of George Eliot’s later novels are laid in England, but for the most part among a town rather than a rural population.  Instead of Hayslope and Raveloe, Mrs. Poyser and Silas Marner, we have Middlemarch and Treby Magna, Dorothea Brooke and Felix Holt.  If Felix Holt is quite as much a working-man as Adam Bede, occupying a social position higher in no respect whatever, yet he is a workingman of a far different type.  If Adam is the nobler character, the truer type of man, Felix represents a larger social purpose and has higher moral aims.  In Adam Bede, we find rustic simplicity and contentment, but in Felix Holt we touch social aspirations and political ambitions.  The horizon has widened, the plane of social life has lifted, there are new motives and larger ideals.

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