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Reading for Our Time


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Table of Contents

Foreword: Required Reading or 'some of us, at least', Julian Wolfreys; Prelude; Acknowledgements; 1. Realism Affirmed and Dismantled in Adam Bede; Adam Bede and Romanticism; Adam Bede as Paradigmatic Realist Novel; Challenges to the Paradigm of Realism in Adam Bede; Four Passages Challenging Mimetic Realism; What Do These Passages Really Say?; The Irony of Mistaken Interpretation in Adam Bede; Hetty Sorrel as Sophist Figure; Adam Bede as a Story about the Reading of Signs and as a Text to be Read; Repetition in Adam Bede; The Community Restored; 2. Reading Middlemarch Right for Today; Totalization Affirmed and Undermined in Middlemarch; Versions of Totalization; Middlemarch as Pseudo-History; Demystification of the Connection of Narrative and History; Totalizing Metaphors in Middlemarch; Middlemarch as Fractal Pattern; Middlemarch as Web; Middlemarch as Stream; Minutiae in Middlemarch; Triumph of Metaphorical Totalization; The Optical Metaphor; Creative Seeing as the Will to Power; The Parable of the Pier-Glass; Human Beings as False Interpreters; 3. Chapter Seventeen of Adam Bede: Truth-Telling Narration; Down with the Art of the Unreal!; The Language of Realism; Performative Undecidability; 4. Returning to Middlemarch: Interpretation as Naming and (Mis)Reading; Interpretation as the Creation of Totalizing Emblems; Money as Metaphor; The Boomerang Effect of the Monetary Metaphor; Money as Universal Measure; The Uses of Art; Conclusions About Metaphor; O Aristotle!; The Roar on the Other Side of Silence; The Ruin of Totalization in a Cascade of Misreadings: A Summary Description of the Ground Gained So Far; Form as Repetition in Unlikeness; A Finale in Which Nothing is Final; Dorothea's Limitless "Yes"; Dorothea as Ariadne; George Eliot's Life and Work as an Uneven Tissue of Ungrounded Repetitions; Coda; Notes; Index

About the Author

J. Hillis Miller is UCI Distinguished Research Professor, University of California at Irvine. He has published many books and essays on 19th and 20th-century literature and on literary theory. His most recent books are For Derrida and The Medium is the Maker: Browning, Freud, Derrida, and the New Telepathic Ecotechnologies. Miller is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the American Philosophical Society.


The sophistication of the arguments rules out beginning readers of Eliot's novels, but any scholar who wisher to think seriously about Eliot's fiction must read this book.--S. Bernado, Wagner College "Choice: October 2012 "

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