Fighting Idealism: Dorothea Brooks, Mary Garth, and George Eliot’s Middlemarch

The novel gives us heroes and heroines who struggle to overcome all kinds of challenges, from medieval monsters to modern bankruptcy. And we are really accustomed not only to respect but to understand with these heroic images. (Direct hand signal: who is the reader Pride and criticism and thought, “I know how and mr. Collins”?) While I don’t want to downplay the value of having heroes and heroines to emulate, I think the problem lies in how we see and compare these stereotypes.

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