Just as the title character of George Eliot’s first full-length novel, Adam Bede (1858), is concerned with building structures out of the proper materials and measurements, the novel itself seeks to build a narrative structure that works on the sensibilities and sympathies of a reader. This article examines Adam Bede through the lens of its architecture; I argue that the novel’s descriptions of houses, farms, churches, and workshops emphasize the temporality of physical structures, thus offering a useful template for understanding the novel’s narrative structures. Through its formal arrangements, the novel juxtaposes a sense of lived time, especially the rhythms of the ordinary, against competing chronotopes of destabilizing, extra-ordinary experiences. The temporality of Adam Bede’s architecture demonstrates the emergence of a realist genre not only capable of reflecting what Jameson calls “the density and solidity of what is,” but also the processes through which those structures are constructed and maintained.


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pp. 1-18
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