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The egotism that fuels the desire for greatness has been associated exclusively with men, according to one feminist view; yet many women cannot suppress the need to strive for greatness. In this forceful and compelling book, Alison Booth traces through the novels, essays, and other writings of George Eliot and Virginia Woolf radically conflicting attitudes on the part of each toward the possibility of feminine greatness. Examining the achievements of Eliot and Woolf in their social contexts, she provides a challenging model of feminist historical criticism.

Table of Contents

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  1. Cover
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  1. Series Page, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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  1. Contents
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  1. Preface
  2. pp. ix-xiv
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  1. Frequently Cited Works
  2. pp. xv-xvi
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  1. Introduction: The Great Woman Writer, the Canon, and Feminist Tradition
  2. pp. 1-26
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  1. 1. Something to Do: The Ideology of Influence and the Context of Contemporary Feminism
  2. pp. 27-51
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  1. 2. The Burden of Personality: Biographical Criticism and Narrative Strategy
  2. pp. 52-83
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  1. 3. Eliot and Woolf as Historians of the Common Life
  2. pp. 84-129
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  1. 4. Miracles in Fetters: Heroism and the Selfless Ideal
  2. pp. 130-167
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  1. 5. Trespassing in Cultural History: The Heroines of Romola and Orlando
  2. pp. 168-203
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  1. 6. "God was cruel when he made women": Felix Holt and The Years
  2. pp. 204-235
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  1. 7. "The Ancient Consciousness of Woman": A Feminist Archaeology of Daniel Deronda and Between the Acts
  2. pp. 236-284
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  1. Works Cited
  2. pp. 285-302
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 303-311
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