Silly novels by lady novelists pdf

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silly novels by lady novelists pdf

The Essays of George Eliot, by George Eliot : VI. SILLY NOVELS BY LADY NOVELISTS.

Silly Novels by Lady Novelists are a genus with many species, determined by the particular quality of silliness that predominates in them—the frothy, the prosy, the pious, or the pedantic. The heroine is usually an heiress, probably a peeress in her own right, with perhaps a vicious baronet, an amiable duke, and an irresistible younger son of a marquis as lovers in the foreground, a clergyman and a poet sighing for her in the middle distance, and a crowd of undefined adorers dimly indicated beyond. Or it may be that the heroine is not an heiress—that rank and wealth are the only things in which she is deficient; but she infallibly gets into high society, she has the triumph of refusing many matches and securing the best, and she wears some family jewels or other as a sort of crown of righteousness at the end …. We are aware that the ladies at whom our criticism is pointed are accustomed to be told, in the choicest phraseology of puffery, that their pictures of life are brilliant, their characters well drawn, their style fascinating, and their sentiments lofty. No sooner does a woman show that she has genius or effective talent, than she receives the tribute of being moderately praised and severely criticised.
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Silly Novels by Lady Novelists by George Eliot

"Silly Novels by Lady Novelists"

Silly Novels by Lady Novelists are a genus with many species, determined by the particular quality of silliness that predominates in them — the frothy, the prosy, the pious, or the pedantic. But it is a mixture of all these — a composite order of feminine fatuity — that produces the largest class of such novels, which we shall distinguish as the mind-and-millinery species. The heroine is usually an heiress, probably a peeress in her own right, with perhaps a vicious baronet, an amiable duke, and an irresistible younger son of a marquis as lovers in the foreground, a clergyman and a poet sighing for her in the middle distance, and a crowd of undefined adorers dimly indicated beyond. Her eyes and her wit are both dazzling; her nose and her morals are alike free from any tendency to irregularity; she has a superb contralto and a superb intellect; she is perfectly well dressed and perfectly religious; she dances like a sylph, and reads the Bible in the original tongues. Or it may be that the heroine is not an heiress — that rank and wealth are the only things in which she is deficient; but she infallibly gets into high society, she has the triumph of refusing many matches and securing the best, and she wears some family jewels or other as a sort of crown of righteousness at the end.

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Aristocratic Women and the Literary Nation, — pp Cite as. The mid-Victorian literary marketplace was a crucial site for debates over the role and status of the author., Silly Novels by Lady Novelists are a genus with many species, determined by the particular quality of silliness that predominates in them—the frothy, the prosy, the pious, or the pedantic. But it is a mixture of all these—a composite order of feminine fatuity—that produces the largest class of such novels, which we shall distinguish as the mind-and-millinery species.

The essay can be seen as a negative manifesto: an argument for what fiction should not do. This, like her later novels, puts into practice many of the ideas she expresses in her critical writing. The heroine in this is beautiful, virtuous and supremely intelligent. The novel ends happily, with the heroine making a splendid marriage to a man she adores. The heroines in these novels are usually highly educated, but their education only makes them self-satisfied and tedious. Eliot therefore suggests that those who read silly novels will come to the conclusion that women do not benefit from education — even though, as she reminds her readers, there have been some truly great female writers.

5 thoughts on “Silly Novels by Lady Novelists: An Essay by George Eliot ()

  1. this highly critical essay by one of the great novelists of the nineteenth Silly novels by Lady Novelists are a genus with many species, determined by the.

  2. In the essay "Silly Novels by Lady Novelists," Eliot criticizes several genres of novel that she believes to be of little to no literary value and which cause harm by encouraging melodrama in women and a belief in men that education does not improve women.

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