Mending science in Middlemarch

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Authors
Landes, Claire A.
Advisors
Waters, Mary A.
Issue Date
2013-05
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Thesis
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Abstract

Most scholars agree that George Eliot's scientific interests informed her novels, especially her 1871 novel, Middlemarch. This research attempts to add to that body of scholarship by showing how, through Middlemarch, Eliot conducted an experiment demonstrating the consequences of science corrupted by egoism, particularly egoism resulting in gender prejudices. Eliot used her two major characters, Dorothea and Tertius Lydgate, to undermine the male chauvinism that had infiltrated Victorian science: Dorothea defies oppressive dogmas about female intellectual ability and levels the incongruous Darwinian theory of sexual selection, while Lydgate suffers the results of a scientist fallen victim to phallocentric preconceived notions about women. The author's final stroke - the moral of how Eliot believed science could be mended - comes when formerly-chauvinistic Lydgate voluntarily submits himself to Dorothea's intellect and views her as an equal.

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Thesis (M.A.)--Wichita State University, Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dept. of English
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Wichita State University
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