Adam Bede's Dutch Realism and the Novelist's Point of View

Philosophy and Literature 36.2 (2013): 423-442.

20 Pages Posted: 27 Jan 2013 Last revised: 21 Jul 2013

See all articles by Rebecca Gould

Rebecca Gould

Professor, Islamic World & Comparative Literature, College of Arts & Law, University of Birmingham; Harvard University - Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies

Date Written: January 26, 2013

Abstract

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."

Keywords: novel, fiction, realism, prose, painting, George Eliot, Rorty, pragmatism, Hegel, representation

Suggested Citation

Gould, Rebecca Ruth, Adam Bede's Dutch Realism and the Novelist's Point of View (January 26, 2013). Philosophy and Literature 36.2 (2013): 423-442. . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2207324

Rebecca Ruth Gould (Contact Author)

Professor, Islamic World & Comparative Literature, College of Arts & Law, University of Birmingham ( email )

College of Arts and Law
Birmingham, UK, Birmingham B15 2TT
United Kingdom
https://rrgould.hcommons.org/ (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/rebeccagould

Harvard University - Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies ( email )

1730 Cambridge Street, 3rd Floor
Cambridge, 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: http://daviscenter.fas.harvard.edu/about-us/people/rebecca-gould

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