Graduate Course Description

350:641 - George Eliot

Course No: 350:641
Index # 15001
Distribution Requirement: A4
Time: Monday - 12:10 p.m.
Location: MU 207

George Eliot

Nancy Yousef

This course will center on a close and attentive reading of all the principal novels of George Eliot, along with some of her shorter fiction, and essays. Such an immersion will allow us to address consistency and variation in conceptual and formal concerns across her career, and the evolution of her distinctive novelistic idiom. Central issues explored in the fiction include the complex dynamics of agency, contingency, and material circumstance, the tensions between spiritual striving and worldly ambition, the disruption of integrated selfhood, the convergences and divergences of science and art. We will grapple with the extraordinary engagement with disparate intellectual fields in her writing (art history, philology, biology, physics, economics, religion), and give special attention to the role of philosophical psychology in her work. The ethical implications of Eliot's realism (especially the challenges of attention, sympathy, and recognition) feature in contemporary approaches to aesthetics, affect, and attunement in literary studies. Reading of Eliot will be supplemented by important recent critical work on nineteenth century fiction and culture, (eg. Amanda Anderson, Pearl Brilmyer, Rae Greiner, David Kurnick, and Andrew Miller).