Adam Bede's Dutch Realism and the Novelist's Point of View
University of Bristol
January 26, 2013
Philosophy and Literature 36.2 (2013): 423-442.
In her first novel, Adam Bede (1859), George Eliot offered the first systematic defense of her literary aesthetic. Eliot turned to early modern Dutch painting to justify the quotidian life of the non-elite, and thereby provocatively extended the possibilities of literary representation. Whereas Hegel’s wariness toward the Dutch painterly aesthetic participates in modern philosophy’s quest to transcend the mundane, Eliot’s celebration of the quotidian reveals the sublimity of everyday experience, and helps us overcome the “philosophy-as-epistemology” that, as Richard Rorty famously argued, configures philosophy as a "mirror of nature."
Number of Pages in PDF File: 20
Keywords: novel, fiction, realism, prose, painting, George Eliot, Rorty, pragmatism, Hegel, representation
Date posted: January 27, 2013 ; Last revised: July 21, 2013