George Eliot and Music by Beryl Gray (auth.)

By Beryl Gray (auth.)

A treatise which explores the level to which track performed a job within the literary works of George Eliot. the writer concentrates largely on "The Mill at the Floss", "Middlemarch" and "Daniel Deronda" and argues that track used to be an critical part of each one of those works.

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The distinction George Eliot makes between the complete absorption and submission of the one, and the wilfulness of the other, is crucial to her purpose. Maggie is, of course, aware of Stephen's effect on her, and, from the outset, makes a point of avoiding Stephen's eyes whenever they are alone. His objective, however, from their very first encounter, is to make her look at hirn and receive his look in return (and we remember that in his glance is 'the vibratory influence of the voice' - 11, 183): '''An alarming amount of devil there," was Stephen's first thought.

The corrective to our overindulgence to Maggie is equally distorting, for we are told that she is 'a rabbit-killer at the beginning, The Mill on the Floss 35 . . and . . 36 The bloodthirsty fiendishness conjured by 'rabbit-killer' is inappropriate enough, but the statement concerning Maggie's ultimate lack of useful moral concepts is more seriously misguided. The truth is that it is through her struggles with the temptation of Stephen that Maggie is able to define those concepts, and to find that they are unrelinquishable.

His tailed black evening apparel informs the image of the broad-winged bird, making it, too, black - at one with the darkness. It is not benign or protective, for what has entered with Stephen is the imminent betrayal of trust, and what hovers in the darkness is a moral threat of which the palpability fades - almost before it has registered when he draws Maggie's attention (and the readers) to the glory of the evening. But the encroachment has begun. '" (n, 218). Stephen's mission - to get Maggie to look at hirn - is thus accomplished; and in the achievement lies the worm which is insidiously to attack her moral fortitude.

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