Our ignorance of others: <i>Middlemarch</i> and <i>Great Expectations</i>

Andrew Bennett

in Ignorance

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780719074875
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702420 | DOI:
Our ignorance of others: Middlemarch and Great Expectations

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This chapter focuses on the ignorance of others that can be found in Charles Dickens's Great Expectations and George Eliot's Middlemarch, which are considered to be two of the most fully achieved and most commonly discussed English novels from the mid-nineteenth century. It grounds the discussion on an observation on the self-evident fact that one knows others through the ‘subtler movements of the body’. The chapter reveals that this strategy can be found in these two novels, in which ‘realism’ may be said to be indirectly related to the modern documentary at certain important points. It also aims to identify the different ways hands serve as signifiers of personhood, and studies what this might tell about the saving knowledge of others.

Keywords: ignorance of others; movements of body; realism; modern documentary; hands; personhood; Great Expectations; Middlemarch

Chapter.  14965 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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