“Tadpole Pleasures”

Ruth A. Solie

in Music in Other Words

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2004 | ISBN: 9780520238459
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520930063 | DOI:
“Tadpole Pleasures”

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A study of the use of music by George Eliot focuses on the diagnostic role as an index of the sensibility and authenticity of a character, or on her deft application of its social functions to sketch the strata of society and trace her characters' movements across them. The depictions of music and music making in Daniel Deronda carry a subtext about music's history that contributes centrally to the novel's overall engagement with the varieties of history and relationships to the past. Daniel Deronda explores many varieties and calibrations of humanly experienced history. The social applications of evolutionary science were a primary focus in George Eliot's intellectual circle. The novel offers a movingly even-handed treatment of two alternative ways of being Jewish, drawn in two archetypal characters, which receive equally sympathetic treatment. First, the visionary Zionist Mordecai, appeals to specifically national values and the second, the cultivated composer Klesmer, appeals to universal values and looks to an assimilated cosmopolitan future as the best hope for his people.

Keywords: Daniel Deronda; George Eliot's intellectual circle; laissez-faire attitude; human history; European society

Chapter.  15631 words. 

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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