Illuminating the ordinary: exploring the work of George Eliot

Here you can read a piece I wrote for the project sponsors, the Arts and Humanities Research Council. It was great to have a chance to thank all the excellent partners I’ve been lucky to work with in Nuneaton.

In the bicentenary year of writer George Eliot, Professor Ruth Livesey, AHRC Leadership Fellow 2019-20 Provincialism: Literature & Cultural Politics, explores how Eliot was shaped by the education and experience she received while living in the Midlands, and how she believed ‘art had a responsibility to show a provincial life could be just as full of insight and moral courage as one on the great world stage.’

How do we judge success in life? Should we look to its legacy at the end, which is so often, as the case of the heroine Dorothea Brooke in George Eliot’s Middlemarch (1871), ‘incalculably diffusive’; or would a better understanding of what it is to be human come from looking at life in the middle and how we try to live a good life in the tangle of the ordinary and every day?

The writer, George Eliot – 200 this year – asks…

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