George Eliot's Middlemarch

1634 WordsJul 15, 20187 Pages
In George Eliot’s Middlemarch, Will Ladislaw is introduced as Mr. Casaubon’s young cousin. He is seen in the gardens at Lowick Manor and described as “a gentleman with a sketch book […] and light brown curls” (49). Mr. Casaubon describes him as a young man who with a mercurial temperament, general inclination to resist responsibility and an affinity towards grand artistic endeavors. Later in the book, town gossip Mrs. Cadwallader refers to him as “a dangerous little sprig […] with his opera song and his ready tongue. A sort of Byronic, amorous conspirator” (237). In ‘Middlemarch,’ Eliot weaves a character with a Romantic character into the social web of a provincial Victorian village. Eliot’s depiction of Ladislaw’s coming-of-age journey…show more content…
In his Preface, Wordsworth claims that the principle objective of his poetry was, “to choose incidents and situations from common life, and to relate or describe them, throughout, as far as was possible in a selection of language really used by men, and, at the same time, to throw over them a certain coloring of imagination, whereby ordinary things should be presented to the mind in an unusual aspect.” (294) The Victorian approach to knowledge which took on the form of large scale surveys, like Mr. Casaubon’s Key to All Mythologies, and factual explorations of absolute truths, like Dr. Lydgate’s practice of medicinal research. Unlike these grandiose projects, Wordsworth and Ladislaw stand for an exploration of the world through human understanding. In explaining the nature of his work, Ladislaw tells Dorothea that being a poet is having the kind of soul “in which knowledge passes instantaneously into feeling, and feeling flashes back as a new organ of knowledge” (142). In stating this, Eliot is in direct conversation with Wordsworth’s claim regarding the objective of the Romantic poet. The Romantics believed that the physical nature of objects was intrinsically attached to the effect they had on the perceiver and the true pursuit of knowledge didn’t discount either of these two aspects. There is a key difference in the
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