• George Eliot's Debt to Richard Wagner: Daniel Deronda and The Flying Dutchman

    Author(s):
    Victoria Addis (see profile)
    Date:
    2021
    Subject(s):
    Eliot, George, 1819-1880, Music and literature
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    daniel deronda, wagner, George Eliot
    Permanent URL:
    https://doi.org/10.17613/77kd-0g50
    Abstract:
    Eliot’s final novel, Daniel Deronda (1876), has often been seen as problematic, and for one major reason: the so-called Jewish storyline. The common sentiment that the novel was one of two distinct halves, one vastly superior to the other, was expressed most famously by F. R. Leavis in The Great Tradition (1948), where he refers to the Jewish plot as the ‘bad half’ of the novel (80), and proceeds to rename the ‘good half’, ‘Gwendolen Harleth’ (85). Daniel Deronda, however, is a brilliantly constructed narrative, in which both of the two interweaving storylines play an integral role. By considering this novel alongside the artistic debt George Eliot owed to the German composer, Richard Wagner, the necessity, and beauty, of the Jewish storyline is revealed. Moreover, in bringing together Daniel Deronda, and Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman, Eliot’s ongoing fascination with the composer, his works, and his theories of ‘modern music’, can be explored in all their many contradictions, and the Wagnerian aspects of Eliot’s final novel can be further uncovered.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    5 months ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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