Abstract

This essay studies the mysterious circumstances of Mr. Tulliver’s loss at court in George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss (1860). Where the social world of the novel deems Tulliver overzealous and wrongheaded in “going to law,” this essay suggests that Eliot incorporated contemporary (1850s) developments in riparian doctrine (the law pertaining to access to and use of rivers) into her novel, such that Tulliver seems to have held a legitimate position under a previous legal paradigm and been stymied by a new way of thinking about river water. This central but unelaborated problem ramifies through the Tulliver family in the form of siblings Maggie and Tom’s respective “judgment pathologies.”

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6547
Print ISSN
0013-8304
Pages
pp. 211-232
Launched on MUSE
2016-03-15
Open Access
No
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