Guest Blog: Clare Walker Gore on George Eliot

Women Writers summer course, 8-13 July 2018. 
Clare Walker Gore will lecture on George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss (1860). Here she offers a few thoughts on the novel:

'The parallels between Eliot and her heroine, Maggie, are striking: Eliot too grew up in a modest home in the Midlands, had a brother who disapproved of her choices, and was unable (or unwilling) to live up to her family’s expectations. It is hard to resist the conclusion that, as Virginia Woolf puts it, Eliot ‘shows herself’ in Maggie.

Yet if her childhood was very like her heroine’s, Eliot's adulthood could hardly have been more different. She more than survived her family’s disapproval, forging a career as a translator and writer, moving to London to live independently, and then choosing to live with her partner G. H. Lewes, even though they were unable to marry. In real life, neither her brother’s rejection nor her defiance of social taboos destroyed her.

Why, then, does she not allow Maggie the same escape? When the real Marian Evans lived and thrived, why must the fictional Maggie Tulliver drown?'

Women Writers: Emily Bronte to Elizabeth Bowen, 8-13 July 2018.
Homerton College, Cambridge
One of our excursions is to Girton College, to learn more about Eliot's interest in women's higher education.

Literature Cambridge