Journal Article

THE PILGRIM MAGGIE: NATURAL GLORY AND NATURAL HISTORY IN <i>THE MILL ON THE FLOSS</i>

Robert P. Lewis

in Literature and Theology

Volume 12, issue 2, pages 121-134
Published in print June 1998 | ISSN: 0269-1205
Published online June 1998 | e-ISSN: 1477-4623 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/litthe/12.2.121
THE PILGRIM MAGGIE: NATURAL GLORY AND NATURAL HISTORY IN THE MILL ON THE FLOSS

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The narrative dynamics of George Eliot's novels belie her explicit rationalist ethics. In The Mill on the Floss Eliot hearkens back to the pre-Enlightenment mythos of conversion in her creative re-interpretation of Bunyan's Pilgrim Progress. Maggie Tulliver's extravagant hopefulness, in conflict with a naturalistic universe and a utilitarian society, tests the limits of George Eliot's humanism. This conflict drives Eliot's narrator past the bounds of realism to an apocalyptic ending in which Maggie/Chnstiana attempts to reclaim the original ecstasy of childhood by embracing a transformative energy that transcends rational calculation.

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Subjects: Literature ; Religion and Art, Literature, and Music

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