Date of this Version
The George Eliot Review 45 (2014)
On Saturday 7 December 2013, the Seventeenth Annual Convention of The George Eliot Fellowship of Japan was held at Keio University.
The morning session started with an opening address by Maiko Otake (Obirin University). Three papers were presented in the morning session. The first two were commented on by Toyotsugu Matsui (Daido University) and the third by Hideo Takano (Komazawa University).
The first speaker was Nanae Hama (Seinan Gakuin University), whose subject was 'The Hero Worship and the Imperial Consciousness: How George Eliot Described Heroes among Children'. In her presentation on The Mill on the Floss (1860), Hama argued that a sense of imperial consciousness was imprinted onto children and that this was revealed by their words and actions. In the episode concerning Maggie's desire to be the gypsy queen, for example, it is revealed that she regards gypsies as barbarians and tries to civilize them by becoming a female Columbus. In the end, Hama concluded that George Eliot did not support this imperial stance, but, instead, she took the opportunity to expose these unfair opinions through the childrens' failures.
The second speaker was Eri Kobayashi (Seikei University), who discussed 'Feminism Displaced into Nationalism in George Eliot's Daniel Deronda (1876),. Exploring the similarity between female characters and the Jewish race in terms of oppression, Kobayashi argued that, while Daniel, a Jew, found hope in the promise of a new land, Gwendolen, an oppressed British woman remained helpless. It is Daniel, rather than Gwendolen, who is liberated from oppressive British society and achieves self-fulfilment abroad. The novel provides the hope of a promised land for Jewish people at the very end of the story, but it also discloses an uneasiness that another British imperialist has sailed to the East.
The third speaker was Akiko Higuchi (formerly a professor at Kagoshima Kokusai University), whose topic was 'Marianne Evans, Edward Neville: From Historical Facts to Imaginative Creation'. Higuchi dealt with Edward Neville, which Marian Evans wrote in a notebook at the age of fourteen. Showing that Marian did not actually visit Chepstow,. but that she based her story solely on descriptions, maps and prints from William Coxe's An Historical Tour in Monmouthshire (1801), Higuchi admired the achievement of young Marian's imagination in creating the novel.