Saturday, June 23, 2007

On "The Mill on the Floss"

Please bring your copy of The Mill on the Floss to class this coming Friday, as we will spend twenty minutes wrapping up our understanduing of the achivement of George Eliot, undeniably one of the most influential literary figures -- and arguably one of the most important people -- of the long ninteenth century.

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:
  1. J.S Mill's third sense of 'nature.'
  2. Charles Darwin's doctrine of natural selection.
  3. Herbert Spencer's doctrine of the survival of the fittest.
  4. Auguste Comte's three stages of history
  5. natura non facit saltum.
  6. progressivism.
  7. degeneracy.
  8. morality and commercialism.
  9. Romanticism and Post-Romanticism
  10. 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.

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