Becoming George Eliot: female authorship in the nineteenth century

Hadjiafxendi, K (2014) 'Becoming George Eliot: female authorship in the nineteenth century.' In: DeMaria, R, Chang, H and Zacher, S, eds. A companion to British literature. Blackwell companions to literature and culture, IV . Blackwell, Oxford, pp. 14-32. ISBN 9780470656044

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This chapter aims to explore through the case study of George Eliot the complexity of nineteenth-century female authorship by focussing on the way in which its history was written through the choices that individual women made in relation to their professionalization. The story of “Becoming George Eliot” is a parable of female development that placed struggle with ambition at the centre of woman’s career progression as an author, within which Eliot’s route to professionalism is traced as a move from private to public spheres, from “feminine” to “masculine” work (hence the use of the male pseudonym), and from writing as a leisure activity to the world of remunerative labour. My aim though is to complicate this narrative of women’s efforts to move from amateur to professional status by exploring the boundaries between Eliot’s journalism and fiction and the respective modes of authorship they embodied, revealing how fluid they were and how often they shifted during the course of her career.

Item Type: Book Chapter or Section
Keywords: authorship, professionalism, George Eliot, realism, aurality, print and visual culture, women’s writing, sympathy, Westminster Review, periodical reviews
Divisions: School of Writing, Publishing and the Humanities
Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2015 20:46
Last Modified: 15 Aug 2021 09:39
References: “Becoming George Eliot: Female Authorship in the Nineteenth Century.” A Companion to British Literature. Ed. Robert DeMaria, Jr., Heesok Chang and Samantha Zacher. 4 vols. Oxford: Blackwell, 2014. Volume IV: Victorian and Twentieth-Century Literature 1837-2000. 14-32.
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