George Eliot’s recourse to comparative mythology and biology in Middlemarch and Daniel Deronda engages a conjectural history of symbolic language shared by the Victorian human and natural sciences. Troubling the formation of scientific knowledge as a progression from figural to literal usage, Eliot’s novels activate an oscillation between registers, in which linguistic events of metaphor become narrative events of organic metamorphosis.
George Eliot’s Science Fiction
Ian Duncan teaches in the English department at the University of California, Berkeley. His books include Scott’s Shadow: The Novel in Romantic Edinburgh (Princeton, 2007), Modern Romance and Transformations of the Novel: The Gothic, Scott, Dickens (Cambridge, 1992), and Scotland and the Borders of Romanticism (co-editor: Cambridge, 2004). He is currently writing a book on the novel and the “science of man.”
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Ian Duncan; George Eliot’s Science Fiction. Representations 1 February 2014; 125 (1): 15–39. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/rep.2014.125.1.15
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