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'George Eliot', the literary market-place and sympathy

Hadjiafxendi, K (2007) ''George Eliot', the literary market-place and sympathy.' In: Hadjiafxendi, K and Mackay, P, eds. Authorship in context: from the theoretical to the material. Palgrave, Basingstoke, pp. 33-55. ISBN 9781403949011

Abstract

This chapter looks into George Eliot's career choices (literary genres, types of publications, and modes of publication) during 1856-59, in her transition from journalism to literature. It argues that Eliot's authorial formation as a promoter of sympathy was inseparable from the print culture in which she had to function as an author and was keyed into her attempt to distinguish herself from other popular modes of female authorship that she criticised in her periodical reviews alongside the institution of criticism. Focussing on the aesthetic, economic and moral constraints imposed upon Eliot as a 'woman of the press', this chapter suggests an interconnection between her efforts to embody an ideal of the 'cultured' woman author and her belief in the ineffectuality of translating and reviewing to arouse sympathetic feeling. Dealing with the paradoxes of Eliot's quest for a kind of art capable of extending sympathy without being intimate with its readers, this essay draws attention to the different meanings that 'George Eliot' acquired during the marketing of her authorial figure by George Henry Lewes and its reception by other female authors (e.g. Margaret Oliphant) and readers (e.g. Jane Carlyle). This chapter concludes by emphasising the centrality of Eliot's male pseudonym to her realist authorship as it developed an aesthetic function out of her attempts to separate her life from work during her collaboration with the Blackwood firm.

Item Type: Book Chapter or Section
Divisions: College of Liberal Arts
Date Deposited: 08 May 2015 15:59
Last Modified: 29 Apr 2016 13:29
URI: http://researchspace.bathspa.ac.uk/id/eprint/6036
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