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George Eliot and the Idea of Travel

John Rignall
The Yearbook of English Studies
Vol. 36, No. 2, Victorian Literature (2006), pp. 139-152
DOI: 10.2307/20479248
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20479248
Page Count: 14
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George Eliot and the Idea of Travel
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Abstract

Compared with Dickens, George Eliot makes little use of her extensive foreign travels in her fiction. This essay traces the incidental role of travel in the novels until it becomes central to "Daniel Deronda." In the early fiction the circumscribed lives of provincial England are framed by the narrative discourse of a well-travelled mind. The journey, particularly for women, dramatizes a crisis of identity, a theme continued in Middlemarch and "Daniel Deronda," where it is contrasted with the male experience of travel as self-culture. In "Daniel Deronda" travel defines the unstable world of modernity and the condition of Jews, culminating in the problematic journey to the East.

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