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Title: The possible worlds of Oliphant and Eliot in Miss Marjoribanks and Middlemarch
Authors: Birrento, Ana
Keywords: Fictionality
Issue Date: 2019
Abstract: In the introduction to Miss Marjoribanks, (1866) Q. D. Leavis stated that Margaret Oliphant was the missing link between Jane Austen and George Eliot. Lucilla Marjoribanks is, in the critic’s words, the Victorian anti-heroine, “large in all particulars, full and well developed”, insubordinate as far as her relationship to men is considered and with a voracious appetite, who opposed to the feminine ideal: the fragile submissive angel. Leavis argued that there is in the novel an Oliphant tone in the honesty and realism, in the acknowledgement of the lack of idealism in life, constrained by conventions and prejudices. It is against these conventions and prejudices that Mary Anne Evans, George Eliot, also wrote Middlemarch (1871), a few years later, representing Dorothea Brooke as a young woman who did not pay too much attention to her look. During the reign of Queen Victoria, a woman's place was in the home, as domesticity and motherhood were considered by society at large to be enough emotional fulfilment for females. These structures of feeling of Victorian society are a construct which kept women far away from the public sphere in most ways. This paper aims, hence to analyse of the modes the two novelist constructed in Miss Marjoribanks and in Middlemarch possible worlds for women characters, discussing the relations between the private lives of men and women and the public issues of culture and society, where Lucilla and Dorothea, living in those possible worlds, try to find themselves free from the “mind forge’d manacles”, as Blake wrote.
Type: lecture
Appears in Collections:CEL - Comunicações - Em Congressos Científicos Internacionais

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