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Newsletter: August 2017, John Burton Aug 2017

Newsletter: August 2017, John Burton

The George Eliot Review

Building News…

Cheyne Walk

George Eliot’s last home for a few weeks. Purchased for 15m two years ago by billionaire Michael Bloomberg, the house is empty and appears to be undergoing major alterations. We suggested a donation towards our Visitor Centre from the Bloomberg Foundation but answer came there none.

Bird Grove

First the good news. Four years after we complained to Coventry City Council they have replaced the sign which had spelt Eliot with two ‘I’s, one of which they painted white! Unfortunately, the building associated with the road, Bird Grove, is empty, neglected and up to ...


Against Egology: Ethics And Style In George Eliot And Emmanuel Levinas, Athanassia Williamson Jan 2017

Against Egology: Ethics And Style In George Eliot And Emmanuel Levinas, Athanassia Williamson

The George Eliot Review

I will argue that the ethical pluralism characteristic of Eliot's late writings anticipates Levinas's rejection of legislative, deontological ethics in the early 1960s, especially from Totality and Infinity (1961) onward. Both Eliot and Levinas problematize an intellectualist or theoretical ethics that fails to attend to our moral experience as an embodied and affective process. They are both sceptics of their inheritances of moral theory, and in their work attempt self-consciously to re-orient or reconstruct that inheritance. For Eliot, Feuerbach is a major encouragement to rethinking the grounds for moral agency; for Levinas, it is the philosophy of Husserl ...


'A Being Apart': Sympathy And Distance In Middlemarch, Charlie Tyson Jan 2017

'A Being Apart': Sympathy And Distance In Middlemarch, Charlie Tyson

The George Eliot Review

I wish to contend that Eliot in Middlemarch (1871-2) frequently tries to attenuate the sympathy that we, her readers, feel for her characters, and that this process of attenuation relies on emphasizing, rather than diminishing, forms of distance between reader and character. She checks our sympathies through techniques of visual staging that press her characters farther away from us in our imagined fields of vision, and through philosophical commentary that emphasizes the commonplace nature of the yearnings and sufferings these characters experience, instead of allowing us to see those circumstances as highly particularized. Despite the standard moral-philosophical observation that sympathy ...


Felix Holt And 'A Fine Sight Of Lawsuits', Sheila Woolfe Jan 2017

Felix Holt And 'A Fine Sight Of Lawsuits', Sheila Woolfe

The George Eliot Review

During the festivities surrounding the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, much was said about his Warwickshire roots, and commentators noted, not for the first time, his use of Warwickshire dialect. The same is frequently said about George Eliot, of course. A good example occurs early in Felix Holt, in the coachman's words as he takes passengers up the hill past the village of Little Treby:

How many times in the year, as the coach rolled past the neglected-looking lodges which interrupted the screen of trees, and showed the river winding through a finely-timbered park, had the coachman answered ...


Chairman's Annual Report For 2016, John Burton Jan 2017

Chairman's Annual Report For 2016, John Burton

The George Eliot Review

The most noteworthy events of 2016 were the deaths of Bill and Kathleen Adams, a couple whose extraordinary dedication and hard work from 1968 until 2008 enabled the Fellowship to prosper and become a genuinely influential literary society. Bill was the first to die, just a couple of days after laying the wreath for us in June in Nuneaton, an event he loved, and where he met and chatted to so many old friends.

The AGM in March saw the existing team of Council members renewing their positions, with a request from Hon. Treasurer Jill Bridgewater that we should find ...


In Memoriam, Kathleen Adams (1929-2016), John Burton Jan 2017

In Memoriam, Kathleen Adams (1929-2016), John Burton

The George Eliot Review

The sheer number of years, forty, that Kathleen Adams was Secretary of the George Eliot Fellowship, is extraordinary, but that number does not do justice to the prodigious amount of time, energy and dedication that she devoted to the job.

Like many others, Kathleen came to George Eliot via her life rather than her works. As a grammar school girl from Barrs Hill in Coventry she had heard about Eliot; as an adult she learned details of her extraordinary life. That took her to the novels and then a commitment to tell people about them which was to dominate her ...


Living With George Eliot: A Tribute To My Parents, Will Adams Jan 2017

Living With George Eliot: A Tribute To My Parents, Will Adams

The George Eliot Review

It was a strange but much-appreciated honour to be asked to address the annual George Eliot Fellowship lunch in 2016. It was strange because I'd attended many such events long ago - fewer more recently - and had always sat with the 'rank and file' on the lower tables while Mum and Dad, officers and distinguished guests occupied the top table. So, when on Sunday 20 November, I rose to speak, I was quite miffed to find that there was no top table! All very egalitarian, but it left me wandering up and down the floor as I imparted my ramblings ...


Kathleen And Bill Adams - Memories Of Old Friends, Michael Harris, Ruth Harris Jan 2017

Kathleen And Bill Adams - Memories Of Old Friends, Michael Harris, Ruth Harris

The George Eliot Review

About 55 years ago when we were engaged to be married, Ruth came down from Scotland to Coventry for a holiday, and I was concerned to demonstrate to her that Warwickshire had much to offer to the visitor and prospective resident. Having, as I thought, exhausted the possibilities of Coventry, Kenilworth, Warwick etc., I asked her if there was anywhere else she would like to visit. I ought not to have been surprised, knowing that she had an English degree and was an English teacher, when she expressed a wish to discover more about George Eliot. So we took the ...


Kathleen Adams: A Tribute, Gabriel Woolf Jan 2017

Kathleen Adams: A Tribute, Gabriel Woolf

The George Eliot Review

All but 50 years we knew each other. And I think George Eliot owes Kathleen Adams a lot. This is common knowledge - for where would the Fellowship be without her tireless efforts. Westminster Abbey, the Nuneaton statue, membership numbers: these are all well known. But that small terrace house in Stepping Stones Road, Coventry, visited by so many important figures, represents for me the championing of the ordinary folk and their appreciation of George Eliot's work. I remember an American academic being disappointed at the Newsletter Kathleen prepared so diligently, and how it was not on the intellectual level ...


Japanese Branch Report, Masako Kimura Jan 2017

Japanese Branch Report, Masako Kimura

The George Eliot Review

On 10 December 2016, the Twentieth Annual Convention of The George Eliot Fellowship of Japan was held in Otani University. The morning session, moderated by Hiroshi Oshima (Hyogo University of Teacher Education), began with an opening address by Yoriko Murase (Otani University). Thereafter, two papers were presented. The first paper 'The Influence of Adam Smith's Discussion of Sympathy on George Eliot: Reading Si/as Marner with The Theory of Moral Sentiments' was read by Chiyo Fujiwara (Kobe College). The second paper 'Women's Education inAdam Bede' was read by Chiyuki Kanamaru (Aichi Bunkyo University).


When Howard Met George: A Play In Two Acts, Susan Ryley Hoyle Jan 2017

When Howard Met George: A Play In Two Acts, Susan Ryley Hoyle

The George Eliot Review

Dramatis Personae (in order of appearance)

Marian Evans (Mrs. Lewes) (George Eliot) (left) was born near Nuneaton in 1819 to a prosperous land agent and his (second) wife. She has lost whatever regional accent she may have had, and has often been complimented on her melodious voice. She speaks quite slowly, rarely with emphasis, nearly always with a shy earnestness and a dry sense of humour. At the time of this play, only her husband and (very recently) her publisher know that she is 'George Eliot', the author of the huge best-seller Adam Bede (1859), and of the only slightly ...


Review Of Writing The Stage Coach Nation: Locality On The Move In Nineteenth-Century British Literature, Ruth Livesey Jan 2017

Review Of Writing The Stage Coach Nation: Locality On The Move In Nineteenth-Century British Literature, Ruth Livesey

The George Eliot Review

Starting from the observation that so many of the major Victorian novels are set, not in the railway age in which they were written, but in the horse-drawn world of the previous generation, a world that is 'just past', this fine study explores the ways in which novelists from Waiter Scott to Thomas Hardy use the stage coach to connect particular localities, often closely observed and substantially realized, to the larger framework of the nation. This turning back to the past is not, Ruth Livesey insists, a retreat from the complications and dislocations of a modern present into a simpler ...


Review Of Victorians Undone: Tales Of The Flesh In The Age Of Decorum, Kathryn Hughes Jan 2017

Review Of Victorians Undone: Tales Of The Flesh In The Age Of Decorum, Kathryn Hughes

The George Eliot Review

This is a superb book, written with deep scholarship by one of our leading biographers, which breaks new ground in its attention to the physicality of its subjects. In her introduction Kathryn Hughes says that she has felt 'chronically short-changed by the lack of physical detail in biography'. This book, she says, is 'an experiment to see what new stories emerge when you use biography .... to put mouths, bellies and beards back into the nineteenth century' by introducing 'a certain lumpiness to canonical life narratives that have previously been rendered as smooth, symmetrical, and as strangely unconvincing as a death ...


Review Of Victorian Narratives Of The Recent Past: Memory, History, Fiction, Helen Kingstone Jan 2017

Review Of Victorian Narratives Of The Recent Past: Memory, History, Fiction, Helen Kingstone

The George Eliot Review

The nineteenth century saw a number of ways in which amateurs and professional historians and novelists approached the presentation of history, especially histories of the recent past. Eminent, professional historians at universities, and those aspiring to join them, increasingly avoided commenting on periods within living memory on the grounds that one could quickly lose credibility debating subjects not yet fully digested. Kingstone clearly illustrates the point in chapter 9, Conclusions: writing 'both before and after the United Kingdom's 2016 referendum decision to leave the European Union, I am aware that any arc I try to draw, any judgment I ...


Review Of The World Of Mr Casaubon: Britain's War Of Mythography, Colin Kidd Jan 2017

Review Of The World Of Mr Casaubon: Britain's War Of Mythography, Colin Kidd

The George Eliot Review

The title of this book is interesting, as the subtitle describes what it is about but the main title refers to a fictional character from Middlemarch, part of a novel recently voted the greatest in English. Such a title makes the book much more marketable to a general audience and more likely to be reviewed in some of the broadsheets than a title which indicates that this is a book that 'venture[s] into the thickets of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century antiquarianism' (vi). But the downside of the more appealing title is that readers who expect Middlemarch to play a central ...


Review Of The Transferred Life Of George Eliot: The Biography Of A Novelist, Philip Davis Jan 2017

Review Of The Transferred Life Of George Eliot: The Biography Of A Novelist, Philip Davis

The George Eliot Review

There have been several good new biographies of George Eliot in recent years but none quite like this. Davis's subtle and searching analysis focuses almost exclusively on the writing as he traces the complex ways in which the experience of Mary Ann, or later Marian, Evans is 'transferred', to use the term of his title, into the creation of George Eliot and her work. The first life of relative failure, unhappiness and unsuccessful relationships is transformed into a second life as George Eliot, successful novelist and woman of letters, and this closely written and argued study explores the relationship ...


Radical Politics In The 1860s: The Writing Of Felix Holt, David Paterson Jan 2017

Radical Politics In The 1860s: The Writing Of Felix Holt, David Paterson

The George Eliot Review

While Felix Halt the Radical was being written there was a transformation in the atmosphere surrounding further parliamentary reform in Britain. In March 1865, when George Eliot began the novel, the Liberal Prime Minister Palmerston remained cautious about an extension of the franchise. Yet Felix Holt was finished on 31 May 1866 amidst great political excitement: a Reform Bill was being debated and the outcome uncertain. This change in emphasis in the political mood had its effect on Eliot 's writing, since the 'reform campaign had not gained enough momentum' I to explain Eliot's initial choice of subject. To ...


Editors' Note Jan 2016

Editors' Note

The George Eliot Review

This year's issue of the George Eliot Review is the first for more than two decades that has not been shaped by the editorial hand of Beryl Gray. Beryl joined Graham Handley as co-editor in 1992 and continued until 2015, playing the leading role in making the Review more polished and professional. Working with Beryl was always a pleasure and an instruction, and the editors would like to mark her retirement by expressing their gratitude for, and warm appreciation of, her long service. 97


In Memoriam, Bill Adams (1923-2016), John Burton Jan 2016

In Memoriam, Bill Adams (1923-2016), John Burton

The George Eliot Review

With the passing of Bill Adams at the age of 92 we have truly reached the end of an era. Bill had a close association with the George Eliot Fellowship for fifty years and only two days before his death on 21 June he had laid a wreath ih Nuneaton, as the Fellowship's guest of honour, and after his speech enjoyed chatting at the museum tea room with guests and members, some of whom he had known for decades.


Between 'Silly Novels' And Vegetation Myths: George Eliot's Subversive Use Of The Two Suitors Convention In Middlemarch, Anna Gutowska Jan 2016

Between 'Silly Novels' And Vegetation Myths: George Eliot's Subversive Use Of The Two Suitors Convention In Middlemarch, Anna Gutowska

The George Eliot Review

Take a woman's head, stuff it with a smattering of philosophy and literature chopped small, and with false notions of society baked hard, let it hang over a desk a few hours every day, and serve up hot in feeble English, when not required . (Eliot 1992:305)

'Silly Novels by Lady Novelists', George Eliot's vitriolic overview of popular novels of the 1850s, which is the source of the mock-recipe above, was published in 1856, shortly before Eliot started writing her first work of fiction, 'The Sad Fortunes of the Reverend Amos Barton' . More than ten years then passed ...


Barbara Hardy: Recollections, Margaret Harris Jan 2016

Barbara Hardy: Recollections, Margaret Harris

The George Eliot Review

The last time I saw Barbara Hardy was in November 2014, at the Middlemarch day held at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Senate House, London, when she gave a characteristically rich paper on Elizabeth Gaskell and George Eliot.' She had turned ninety that June, and while she was physically diminished and the voice less bell-like, her intonations and gestures were as ever, and her responses to questions as sharp.


Barbara Hardy On Dickens, Michael Slater Jan 2016

Barbara Hardy On Dickens, Michael Slater

The George Eliot Review

1970, the centenary year of Dickens's death, saw a flood of books published on the novelist including several by distinguished writers and critics ranging from F .R. Leavis to J. B. Priestley. One of the best, and most ground-breaking, of these latter was Barbara Hardy's The Moral Art of Dickens, published by the Athlone Press of the University of London. A collection of essays no more than 155 pages long, this book, elegantly and lucidly written like all of Barbara's work, was followed over the years by other critical studies from her pen that were to have ...


Barbara Hardy In France, Alain Jumeau Jan 2016

Barbara Hardy In France, Alain Jumeau

The George Eliot Review

Barbara Hardy was a well-known figure among French Victorianists, probably because she had written on three at least of the major novelists of the period, Dickens, Thackeray and George Eliot, not to forget Thomas Hardy and a few others.

As far as I am concerned, when I started researching on George Eliot in the early seventies, I found her book The Novels of George Eliot: A Study in Form particularly inspiring. At that time, most critical studies dealing with George Eliot were either concerned with the problem of realism or with a purely moral approach. The notion of form, which ...


Chairman's Annual Report For 2015, John Burton Jan 2016

Chairman's Annual Report For 2015, John Burton

The George Eliot Review

Another successful year' is always good to report, and is expected of a chairman. But it really was a terrific year for the Fellowship. The only damper was the slow, painfully slow progress on the Visitor Centre. I start with thanks to the Fellowship Council, strengthened in March by the election of Joy Hunter, Joy Redfem and Linda Mayne as full members. The George Eliot Essay Prize was won in 2015 by Jen Davis, and her essay appeared in last year's Review. On a more positive side, we think Whitbread is still committed to helping create a Visitor Centre ...


An American Tribute, George Levine Jan 2016

An American Tribute, George Levine

The George Eliot Review

Isobel Armstrong begins her wonderful obituary for Barbara in the Guardian by noting how Barbara loved a good argument. No consideration of what Barbara Hardy has left us can get anywhere without recognition that she was a feisty woman. She was also an extraordinarily warm and inspiring one.

I owe her a lot. I first met her when, as an assistant professor still very wet behind the ears, I was lucky enough to spend a research year in London. Barbara took me in as though I were a serious scholar. She helped me find my way around London, was generous ...


A Tribute To Barbara Hardy, Graham Handley Jan 2016

A Tribute To Barbara Hardy, Graham Handley

The George Eliot Review

Barbara and I were close friends for over fifty years. She was the external examiner for my doctoral thesis in 1962, and from then on we met three or four times a year. I had previously reviewed The Novels of George Eliot and been impressed by the subtlety of the sustained investigation and the freshness of approach. It would be accurate to say that it was the major influence on my own studies in Victorian literature.


The Egyptian Sorcerer's Drop Of Ink In Adam Bede, Tapan Kumar Mukherjee Jan 2016

The Egyptian Sorcerer's Drop Of Ink In Adam Bede, Tapan Kumar Mukherjee

The George Eliot Review

With a single drop of ink for a mirror, the Egyptian sorcerer undertakes to reveal to any chance corner far-reaching visions of the past. This is what I undertake to do for you, reader. With this drop of ink at the end of my pen, I will show you the roomy workshop of Mr Jonathan Burge, carpenter and builder, in the village of Hayslope, as it appeared on the eighteenth of June, in the year of our Lord 1799.

Many scholars and critics have discussed the symbolic significance of the famous opening sentence of Adam Bede and related it to ...


Conference Report: Annual George Eliot Conference: Daniel Deronda, Institute Of English Studies, 7 November 2015, John Rignall Jan 2016

Conference Report: Annual George Eliot Conference: Daniel Deronda, Institute Of English Studies, 7 November 2015, John Rignall

The George Eliot Review

The conference opened with a characteristically rich and incisive paper by Barbara Hardy (Birkbeck), 'Re-Reading Daniel Deronda', which, sadly, was the last she was to deliver. In 'Daniel Deronda: The Two Halves That Were Never Whole', Isobel Armstrong (Birkbeck) presented a paper that will become part of her forthcoming book on Novel Politics: Democratic Imaginations and Nineteenth-Century Fiction. The 'Two Sequels to Daniel Deronda' discussed by John Rignall (Warwick) were a seven-page satirical squib in Mr Punch s Pocket-Book Jor 1877 entitled' Daniel Deronda Book IX', and a short novel, Gwendolen: or, Reclaimed: A Sequel to 'Daniel Deronda', published in ...


Notes On Contributors Jan 2016

Notes On Contributors

The George Eliot Review

Isobel Armstrong--John Burton--Marianne Burton--Delia da Sousa Correa--Patricia Duncker--Beryl Gray--Anna Gutowska--David Halliwell--Graham Handley--David Harper--Margaret Harris--Alain Jumeau--George Levine--Tapan Kumar Mukherjee--David Paterson--John Rignall--Eri Satoh--Michael Slater


Japanese Branch Report, Eri Satoh Jan 2016

Japanese Branch Report, Eri Satoh

The George Eliot Review

On Saturday 28 November 2015 , the Nineteenth Annual Convention of The George Eliot Fellowship of Japan was held at Obirin University.