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Durham e-Theses
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George Elliot and the Westminster Review

Hutchinson, A. G. (1967) George Elliot and the Westminster Review. Masters thesis, Durham University.



The thesis is concerned with the formative years during which Marian Evans was associated with the influential radical quarterly, the Westminster Review, first as editor and later as contributor. The work attempts primarily to trace the development of Miss Evans' ideas, and to set it against the background of contemporary thought. Her years as journalist represent the climax of her intellectual career. The work does not set out to be primarily a critique of the novels. There are three chapters. In the first the personal and ideological background to her work with the Review is explored; the history of her friendship with John Chapman, its proprietor; the previous history of the Review, and the direction in which Miss Evans influenced the editorial policy. The influence upon Marian Evans of the writings of the Historical Critics, especially of Hennell and Strauss is considered in detail. Chapter II is concerned with the nature of Miss Evans' editorial duties, and the interesting new ideas she encountered during her editorship. She was intimately friendly with the philosopher Herbert Spencer, and with Harriet Martineau. She read the recently published Philosophie Positive by Gomte with interest and reserve. She wrote a translation of Feuerbach's Essence of Christianity, a book which influenced her greatly, and enabled her to reconcile a belief in the validity of religious feelings with an agnostic creed. In the third chapter the articles and reviews written by Marian Evans between 1854 and 1856 and published in the Westminster Review and various other periodicals, are assessed critically. An attempt is made to establish a coherent picture of Miss Evans’ beliefs at the time; her relation to the Feminist Movement; her philosophical beliefs; her views, on contemporary novels. In the Epilogue the relevance of her earlier work as a journalist to her later work as novelist is examined.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > English Studies, Department of
Thesis Date:1967
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Mar 2014 16:22

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