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Constructing the Man-Woman: George Eliot as Icon

  • Kristin Brady
Chapter
Part of the Women Writers book series

Abstract

Somewhat to my surprise, I found her intensely feminine. Her slight figure, — it might almost be called diminutive, — her gentle, persuasive air, her constrained gesticulation, the low, sweet voice, — all were as far removed from the repulsive phenomenon, the ‘man-woman,’ as it is possible to conceive. The brow alone seemed to betray her intellectual superiority.1

Keywords

Female Body Male Character Feminist Critic Century Gender Masculine Trait 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    Charles Warren Stoddard, ‘George Eliot’, Exits and Entrances: A Book of Essays and Sketches (Boston, Mass., Lathrop, 1903) pp. 143–4.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Quoted in George Willis Cooke, George Eliot: A Critical Study of Her Life, Writings and Philosophy (Boston, Mass., Osgood, 1883) p. 84.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Hallam Tennyson, Alfred Lord Tennyson: A Memoir by His Son (London, Macmillan, 1897) p. 107Google Scholar
  4. Charles Eliot Norton, Letters of Charles Eliot Norton with Biographical Comment, 2 vols, ed. Sara Norton and M.A. DeWolfe (London, Constable, 1913) vol. 1, p. 318Google Scholar
  5. Humphry House, ‘Qualities of George Eliot’s Unbelief’, All in Due Time: The Collected Essays and Broadcast Talks of Humphry House (London, Hart-Davis, 1955) p. 109.Google Scholar
  6. 4.
    Joseph Jacobs, George Eliot, Matthew Arnold, Browning, Newman: Essays and Reviews from the ‘Athenaeum’ (London, Nutt, 1891) p. xvi; Cooke, pp. 81–2Google Scholar
  7. 5.
    Quoted in David Duncan, The Life and Letters of Herbert Spencer (1908; London, Williams, 1911) p. 296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 6.
    Frederic Harrison, ‘George Eliot’, Studies in Early Victorian Literature, 2nd edn (London, Arnold, 1895) pp. 231–2.Google Scholar
  9. 8.
    Elaine Showalter, ‘Women Writers and the Double Standard’, Women in Sexist Society, ed. Vivian Gornick and Barbara K. Moran (New York, Basic, 1971) p. 329.Google Scholar
  10. 11.
    Quoted in Edmund Gosse, The Life of Algernon Charles Swinburne (New York, Macmillan, 1917) p. 236.Google Scholar
  11. 12.
    William Barry, Heralds of Revolt: Studies in Modern Literature and Dogma (London, Hodder, 1904) p. 12.Google Scholar
  12. 13.
    Edmund Gosse, English Literature: An Illustrated Record, 4 vols (London, Heinemann, 1906)Google Scholar
  13. 14.
    Mary Jacobus, Reading Woman: Essays in Feminist Criticism (London, Methuen, 1986) pp. 115Google Scholar
  14. 15.
    Quoted in Frances Wentworth Knickerbocker, John Morley and His Friends (Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press, 1943) p. 204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 16.
    Leslie Stephen, George Eliot (London, Macmillan, 1902) p. 155.Google Scholar
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    F.E. Baily, Six Great Victorian Novelists (London, MacDonald, 1947) pp. 119Google Scholar
  17. Margaret Crompton, George Eliot: The Woman (London, Cassell, 1960) p. 179Google Scholar
  18. Walter Allen, George Eliot (New York, Macmillan, 1964) p. 48Google Scholar
  19. U.C. Knoepflmacher, Religious Humanism and the Victorian Novel: George Eliot, Walter Pater, and Samuel Butler (Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press, 1965) p. 12.Google Scholar
  20. 21.
    Carolyn Heilbrun praises Haight for refraining from masculine interpretation’ in his biography (Towards a Recognition of Androgyny [New York, Knopf, 1973] p. 183Google Scholar
  21. 22.
    Gordon S. Haight, George Eliot and John Chapman, with Chapman’s Diaries (New Haven, Conn., Yale University Press, 1940) p. vii.Google Scholar
  22. 24.
    Neil Roberts, George Eliot: Her Beliefs and Her Art (London, Elek, 1975) p. 97Google Scholar
  23. Joseph Wiesenfarth, George Eliot s Mythmaking (Heidelberg, Winter, 1977) p. 29Google Scholar
  24. Kathleen Adams, Those of Us Who Loved Her: The Men in George Eliot’s Life (Warwick, George Eliot Fellowship, 1980) p. 184Google Scholar
  25. Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar, The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination (New Haven, Conn., Yale University Press, 1979) p. 467Google Scholar
  26. John Purkis, A Preface to George Eliot (London, Longman, 1985) p. 37Google Scholar
  27. Phyllis Rose (Parallel Lives: Five Victorian Marriages [New York, Knopf, 1983] p. 300Google Scholar
  28. Elizabeth Ermarth (George Eliot [Boston, Mass., Twayne, 1985] p. 6)Google Scholar
  29. 25.
    Charles Bray, Phrases of Opinion and Experience during a Long Life: An Autobiography (London, Longman, [1885]) pp. 74–5.Google Scholar
  30. 26.
    Bray, p. 73. See also T.R. Wright, ‘From Bumps to Morals: The Phrenological Background to George Eliot’s Moral Framework’, Review of English Studies 33 (1982): 37Google Scholar
  31. 28.
    N.N. Feltes, ‘One Round of a Long Ladder: Gender, Profession and the Production of Middlemarch’, English Studies in Canada 12 (1986): 216.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kristin Brady 1992

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  • Kristin Brady

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