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Large-Scale Sympathy and Simultaneity in George Eliot’s Romola

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jacob Jewusiak


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This article argues that George Eliot’s Romola (1862-63) theorizes large-scale sympathy as a way of ethically engaging large groups of individuals outside one’s immediate social ambit. Yet the failed attempts of characters like Savonarola and Tito to imagine the experiences of unknown others suggests that large-scale sympathy estranges the sympathizing subject from the specificity of individual experience. This leads us to see a fault line at the heart of George Eliot’s work, whereby the necessity of imagining the simultaneous experience of others is continually brought into conflict with the impossibility—and the danger—of doing so.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Jewusiak J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Studies in English Literature

Year: 2014

Volume: 54

Issue: 4

Pages: 853-874

Print publication date: 10/01/2014

Acceptance date: 01/01/2012

ISSN (print): 0039-3657

ISSN (electronic): 1522-9270

Publisher: John Hopkins University Press


DOI: 10.1353/sel.2014.0044


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