There are patterns of continuité discontinu (Derrida) in the figural transactions between human groups and between humans and animals in George Eliot’s Daniel Deronda that remain underexamined. By emphasizing ironic incommensurability and difference, this essay seeks to reveal the logic of ungivenness organizing human interactions in a novel haunted by images of deep time and species extermination. Eliot’s interest in ancestrality and extinction was fueled by her readings in geology and biology (Darwin), but it also evinces a metaphysical concern with uncorrelated time (Kant) that is inseparable from her fascination with the idea of moral rarity.
The Stamp of Rarity: Ancestrality and Extinction in Daniel Deronda
Julián Jiménez Heffernan is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Córdoba, Spain. He is the co-editor (with Paula Martín Salván and Gerardo Rodríguez Salas) of the volume Community in Twentieth-Century Fiction and publishes on Victorian literature, modern fiction, narrative theory, and deconstruction.
Julián Jiménez Heffernan; The Stamp of Rarity: Ancestrality and Extinction in Daniel Deronda. Representations 1 November 2018; 144 (1): 90–123. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/rep.2018.144.1.90
Download citation file: