I do want to emphasise the value of dialectic in university studies, and especially in fourth-year courses. My two weeks of lecture have presented The Mill on the Floss in a particular way and with a definitite judgement of its merit. You individually, of course, do not have to share either my configuration of the text as an advancement of a specific intellectual position (represented in J.S. Mill's essay 'On Nature') or my high esteem of its supreme literary quality.
This coming Friday, then, you will be asked to succinctly formulate your comprehensive understanding of the novel in terms of the following components:
- J.S Mill's third sense of 'nature.'
- Charles Darwin's doctrine of natural selection.
- Herbert Spencer's doctrine of the survival of the fittest.
- Auguste Comte's three stages of history
- natura non facit saltum.
- morality and commercialism.
- Romanticism and Post-Romanticism
- family (generation and characteristics) and local place (environment.)
The challenge will be making certain that there is a clear understanding of how these componets are simply abstactions from one unmistakale and unified artistic whole in imagination of George Eliot.