Middlemarch by George Eliot: Dorothea Brooke – Feminist or Failure?

In the literary community, there seems to be quite a debate on whether Dorothea Brooke from George Eliot’s Middlemarch is a truly “satisfactory” character. Feminist critics such as Lee R. Edwards have pointed out that Dorothea succumbs to the conservative expectations of society, ultimately becoming no more than a mother and a wife. In some ways, Eliot seems to deny […]

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If Keats Was Sitting the English AS Levels

So, exam “season” is upon us. I wonder what the Romantic poets, with their capacity for celebrating the beauty of nature, would have to say about that phrase. Students, at this time of year, hardly look like poetic inspiration. We really don’t have time to think about gardens, like Blake, nor do we resemble the “dancing daffodils” Wordsworth stumbled upon […]

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Enduring Love, A Book Review 

Enduring love; the book’s title promises the story of a faithful relationship, of love transcending all obstacles, something reminiscent of Shakespeare’s ‘Marriage of True Minds’. Somewhat luckily, reading McEwan’s other masterpiece “Atonement” and living with the rather faulty configuration of my own mind had already primed me to discover something much more disturbing. McEwan doesn’t really wait for you to figure out what’s going on here, much unlike the idyllic, slow pace of the Country house backdrop in Atonement. Instead, we’re thrown headlong into the life of a science journalist called Joe Rose and his beautiful wife Clarissa, on an everyday outing when a ballooning accident makes everything go horribly, horribly wrong. Joe Rose and other witnesses, including a man called Jed Parry, get involved in a startling and suspenseful narrative whirlwind where they are faced with a split-second moral decision that could change the courses of their lives forever. Yet there’s still more to this tragedy, as Parry, a seemingly religious fanatic, crosses paths with Rose and the incident becomes a catalyst that gives birth to an obsessive, enduring love. I think it’s worth considering the similarities to Atonement and what I understand so far about McEwan’s writing style, having read two of his books. Firstly, there’s the concept of ‘Believing is seeing’. McEwan emphasises the idea that we see what we choose to see; in Atonement, Marshall walks free while Robbie is clearly guilty, according to social hegemony. […]

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