Abstract

This essay seeks to illuminate two perennial questions of George Eliot scholarship--the origins of Middlemarch, and Eliot's attitude toward the "Woman Question"--by exploring the novel's connections with utopian socialism. By tracing allusions to pre-Marxian socialism in the novel and in Eliot's diary and notebooks, I demonstrate that it was crucial to the genesis, and is fundamental to the structure, of Middlemarch. Because the utopian socialists considered women's emancipation the crux of social renovation, I argue that Eliot's appropriation of their doctrines quietly aligns her with the proto-feminism of the contemporaneous women's suffrage movement.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6547
Print ISSN
0013-8304
Pages
pp. 715-739
Launched on MUSE
2011-09-10
Open Access
No
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