Date of this Version
The George Eliot Review 30 (1999) Published by The George Eliot Fellowship, http://georgeeliot.org/
The second annual convention of the George Eliot Fellowship of Japan was held at Toyo University in Tokyo on Saturday, 31 October 1998. After a year of careful preparation, the convention was successful. The morning session began with a welcome speech by Yuzo Uzuhashi, Chair of the English Literature Department at Toyo University. After that, three papers were presented. The first paper, 'Representations of Mobs and Riots: Felix Halt as an Industrial Novel', was presented by Tadashi Wada, a graduate student at Tokyo University. He discussed how the author's ambivalent view of mobs and riots was reflected in the representations in Felix Halt. Midori Takamatsu, a lecturer at Yamawaki Junior College, presented the second paper, 'Italy in "Mr. Gilfil's Love-Story'''. She discussed how the Italian elements, e.g., the Italian heroine and her sufferings, contrasted with the characteristics of exclusive English aristocratic society. In the third paper, 'Shadow Behind the Wreck: The Reading in Middlemarch', Masako Hirai, a professor at Kobe-Jogakuin University, focused on chapter 20. She pointed out that the 'disturbing sounds' and 'the weight of intelligible Rome' and its 'wreck' of the past caused Dorothea to face the abyss of unreality and made her realise in turn the abysmal reality of her disillusioned married life.
The afternoon session began with the general meeting presided over by Yoshitsugu Uchida, a professor at Tezukayama-Gakuin University, after that there was a symposium on Middlemarch facilitated by Masatoshi Ogino, a professor at Nanzan University. As the first speaker, Miwa Ota, a lecturer at Komozawa University, pointed out the types and characteristics of sympathy. Next, Mieko Hirono, an assistant professor at Yamaguchi University discussed why and how Dorothea could escape from the entangling thread of cause and effect. The final speaker, Mieko Matsumoto, an assistant professor at Aichi Prefectural University, compared Middlemarch (1871-2) with H. Martineau's Deerbrook (1839) and pointed out that George Eliot was able to elucidate the sufferings of women whose personalities and sexuality were unrealized outside the home. Their presentations provoked a lot of responses in the audience and lively discussion followed. A special lecture, entitled 'Rural and Urban Areas in the Victorian and Edwardian Eras', was given by Ai Tannji, a professor at Tokyo University. He discussed how Victorian countryside and its culture changed into Edwardian towns and their urban culture and pointed out the importance of studying the intertexuality of cultures that produced originality. The convention ended with a closing speech by Hiroshi Ebine, the president of the George Eliot Fellowship of Japan and professor at Toyo University.