By J. Hillis Miller

ISBN-10: 0748647287

ISBN-13: 9780748647286

A masterclass in attentive analyzing that opens up remarkable insights into of George Eliot's novels Can interpreting Adam Bede and Middlemarch be justified during this time of weather swap, monetary meltdown and useless politicians? J. Hillis Miller indicates how, to be learn for this day, they need to be learn slowly, heavily and punctiliously, with a lot cognizance to linguistic aspect and particularly to figures of speech. by means of bearing on error like Dorothea's approximately Casaubon to present affairs, Miller's 'readings for this present day' can assist us to return to phrases with our human, social and political scenario or even motivate us to behave to ameliorate it.

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Additional resources for Reading for Our Time: 'Adam Bede' and 'Middlemarch' Revisited

Example text

24 All are strongly emotive. All involve the loss of self-possession in a powerful sense of sympathy for someone or something outside oneself. All involve an interpretation of signs that differs in important ways from the ordinary understanding of words or other tokens. The usual sign is commensurate with its referent in the sense that it corresponds to it in a one-to-one matching in which there seems to be no mystery. This kind of sign seems consistent with the rational, scientific interpretation of human culture proposed throughout Adam Bede by the narrator.

Eliot elsewhere in the novel emphasizes the way faces may lie as well as tell the truth. Dinah, moreover, is bending her pitying glance on Hetty, who at that moment is lost in her dreams of being loved by Arthur Donnithorne. She pays little attention to Dinah’s open face and loving speech. The narrator stresses a few sentences later that “Dinah was a riddle to her; . . but she did not care to solve such riddles” (14: 128). A few pages after his assertion that Dinah’s face is a veracious index to her mind and feelings, the narrator ironically asserts the stark counter-truth, apropos of men’s propensity to misread the inner natures of the women they love: “Every man under such circumstances is conscious of being a great physiognomist.

The word “unspeakably” must be taken literally here. It indicates the paradoxical power of certain signs to indicate something beyond signification in the usual sense, something impossible to see and name in the way chips and sawdust can be seen and named. ”25 The “something unspeakably great and beautiful”—quality, value, or power—is given a consistent metaphorical description in these passages. It is an “ocean” of love and beauty, a fathomless reservoir of feeling sustaining human good. It transcends time and any spatially limited objects.

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Reading for Our Time: 'Adam Bede' and 'Middlemarch' Revisited by J. Hillis Miller


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