Date of this Version
The George Eliot Review 47 (2016)
The conference opened with a characteristically rich and incisive paper by Barbara Hardy (Birkbeck), 'Re-Reading Daniel Deronda', which, sadly, was the last she was to deliver. In 'Daniel Deronda: The Two Halves That Were Never Whole', Isobel Armstrong (Birkbeck) presented a paper that will become part of her forthcoming book on Novel Politics: Democratic Imaginations and Nineteenth-Century Fiction. The 'Two Sequels to Daniel Deronda' discussed by John Rignall (Warwick) were a seven-page satirical squib in Mr Punch s Pocket-Book Jor 1877 entitled' Daniel Deronda Book IX', and a short novel, Gwendolen: or, Reclaimed: A Sequel to 'Daniel Deronda', published in Boston Massachusetts in 1878. Marianne Burton (Royal Holloway), in her discussion of 'Existentialism and the Female Slave in Daniel Deronda', began with Kierkegaard, who did not believe in equal rights and considered that men and women were only entirely equal at the altar when faced with the question 'Do you take this man/woman etc'. In 'Seated lonely on the Ruins of Jerusalem: Religion, Nation and the Jewess in Daniel Deronda', Nadia Valman (Queen Mary, University of London) began by considering how Jews figured in nineteenth-century thought. In 'Gwendolen Harleth, "Mind and Millinery": George Eliot and the Silver Fork School of Fiction', Royce Mahawatte (Central St Martin's) argued that, although George Eliot mocked an evangelical variant of the silver-fork novel in 'Silly Novels by Lady Novelists', some of its tropes and characters and material culture find their way into the Gwendolen half of Daniel Deronda. Silver Fork novels - a term coined dismissively by Hazlitt - emerge in the 1830s and last until Ouida in the 1890s, and Daniel Deronda's affinities with the sub-genre have the effect of questioning the realist dimension of the Gwendolen narrative. Louise Lee (Roehampton) in 'Mrs Arrowpoint's Suspicions: Comedies of Knowledge in Daniel Deronda' sought to define the emotional temperament ofthe 1870s as the context for an understanding of the comic elements in Daniel Deronda.