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Silas Marner, catalepsy, and mid-Victorian medicine: George Eliot's ethics of care

Willis, Martin 2015. Silas Marner, catalepsy, and mid-Victorian medicine: George Eliot's ethics of care. Journal of Victorian Culture 20 (3) , pp. 326-340. 10.1080/13555502.2015.1046906

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Abstract

‘Silas Marner, Catalepsy, and Mid-Victorian Medicine’ reads Eliot's novel Silas Marner through the history of medicine, and particularly in the context of Marner's strange cataleptic trances which embody his alienation and suffering. Eliot, I argue, employs catalepsy in order to investigate ideas of illness and care, especially as that relates to professional medicine and to ideas of community. Focusing on cataleptic case histories and on Eliot's personal health concerns I show how issues of care become philosophical questions about ethical responsibility. It is through Silas Marner and his catalepsy, I conclude, that Victorian scholars can come to understand more about what that means within Eliot's canon and, more widely, in the mid-Victorian period. Overall, the article provides a unique reading of Silas Marner, drawing on significant new archival research on catalepsy and in Eliot's writing of illness narratives.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D204 Modern History
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Uncontrolled Keywords: George Eliot, Silas Marner, medicine, care, catalepsy, mid-Victorian, ethics
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
ISSN: 1355-5502
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2019 10:39
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/79714

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