Middlemarch: Epigraphs and Mirrors

Middlemarch: Epigraphs and Mirrors Adam Roberts
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A study of epigraphs and allusions in Middlemarch might seem uncomfortably close to Mr Casaubon’s own pedantic and unprofitable research in the novel, but Adam Roberts is happily no Casaubon, and his lively scholarship, informed by a knowledge of languages that comes close to George Eliot’s, is impressive in the breadth of its concerns and the variety of fascinating insights it offers. Using epigraphs as a lens to open up new vistas, this study explores a wide range of connections – with concepts such as Brownian motion and with writers such as Scott, Pascal, George Sand, Sappho and Tolstoy – and, moving freely between epigraphs and the main text, it succeeds in throwing fresh light on the manifold ‘middleness’ of Middlemarch and the richness and sophistication of George Eliot’s realism.
John Rignall, Reader Emeritus, University of Warwick

In Middlemarch, George Eliot draws a character passionately absorbed by abstruse allusion and obscure epigraphs. Casaubon’s obsession is a cautionary tale, but Adam Roberts nonetheless sees in him an invitation to take Eliot’s use of epigraphy and allusion seriously, and this book is an attempt to do just that.

Roberts considers the epigraph as a mirror that refracts the meaning of a text, and that thus carries important resonances for the way Eliot’s novels generate their meanings. In this lively and provoking study, he tracks down those allusions and quotations that have hitherto gone unidentified by scholars, examining their relationship to the text in which they sit to unfurl a broader argument about the novel – both this novel, and the novel form itself.

Middlemarch: Epigraphs and Mirrors is both a study of George Eliot and a meditation on the textuality of fiction. It is essential reading for specialists and students of George Eliot, the nineteenth century novel, and intertextuality. It will also richly reward anyone who has ever taken pleasure in Middlemarch.

Middlemarch: Epigraphs and Mirrors
Adam Roberts | March 2021
160 pp. | 3 B&W illustrations | 6.14" x 9.21" (234 x 156 mm)
ISBN Paperback: 9781800641587
ISBN Hardback: 9781800641594
ISBN Digital (PDF): 9781800641600
ISBN Digital ebook (epub): 9781800641617
ISBN Digital ebook (mobi): 9781800641624
ISBN Digital (XML): 9781800641631
DOI: 10.11647/OBP.0249
Categories: BIC: D (Literature and literary studies), DSBF (Literary studies: c. 1800 to c. 1900); BISAC: FIC027070 (FICTION / Romance / Historical / Regency), LIT004120 (LITERARY CRITICISM / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh), LIT000000 (LITERARY CRITICISM / General), LIT024040 (LITERARY CRITICISM / Modern / 19th Century); OCLC Number: 1245925968.

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List of Illustrations