The Transferred Life of George Eliot by Philip Davis

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Davis’s book is a celebration of her “realism”, which allows us to see minutely the differences in consciousness of different characters – before we return to our sole selves. As an omniscient narrator Eliot has often been called God-like, but Davis thinks even more of her wisdom than this.
-Guardian

Synopsis

Reading George Eliot's work was described by one Victorian critic as like the feeling of entering the confessional in which she sees and hears all the secrets of human psychology--'that roar which lies on the other side of silence'. This new biography of George Eliot goes beyond the much-told story of her life. It gives an account of what it means to become a novelist, and to think like a novelist: in particular a realist novelist for whom art exists not for art's sake but in the exploration and service of human life. It shows the formation and the workings of George Eliot's mind as it plays into her creation of some of the greatest novels of the Victorian era.

When at the age of 37 Marian Evans became George Eliot, it followed long mental preparation and personal suffering. During this time she related her power of intelligence to her capacity for feeling: discovering that her thinking and her art had to combine both. That was the great ambition of her novels--not to be mere pastimes or fictions but experiments in life and helps in living, through the deepest account of human complexity available. Philip Davis's illuminating new biography will enable you both to see through George Eliot's eyes and to feel what it is like to be seen by her, in the imaginative involvement of her readers with her characters.
 

About Philip Davis

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Philip Davis is Professor of English Literature at the University of Liverpool. His books include Sudden Shakespeare and The Victorians (Oxford English Literary History).
 
Published March 9, 2017 by OUP Oxford. 352 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Transferred Life of George Eliot
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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by John Mullan on May 31 2017

Davis’s book is a celebration of her “realism”, which allows us to see minutely the differences in consciousness of different characters – before we return to our sole selves. As an omniscient narrator Eliot has often been called God-like, but Davis thinks even more of her wisdom than this.

Read Full Review of The Transferred Life of Georg... | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Salley Vickers on May 28 2017

He shares with Eliot a fascination with “the germ of life” and how it “may develop”. This is a book that will ensure that Eliot’s radical “presence” lives.

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