Date of this Version
The George Eliot Review 46 (2015)
On 29 November 2014, at the 18th General Meeting of the George Eliot Fellowship of Japan, three papers on George Eliot's novels were read in the morning session. In the afternoon, a symposium on Eliot's poems was held and in the evening session a keynote speech was given by Professor Minoru Kawakita.
Chaired by Professor Kimitaka Hara (Nihon University), the morning session saw our first speaker, Masako Ishii (Kyoto University), discussing The Mill on the Floss from the standpoint of the destiny of Maggie Tulliver, especially in relation to her conflict with the socially restrictive norms of a provincial town in England. Entitled 'Yearning for a Love', her presentation clarified how the heroine's vulnerability seems attractive to her cousin's fiancé but the heroine nevertheless refuses to elope with him because of her sense of insecurity or her unstable identity that she has had since childhood. The second speaker, Takako Takamoto (National Fisheries University), spoke about 'Moral Dilemmas in George Eliot's Romola (1862-63) and Ian McEwan's Saturday (2005)'. She pointed out the dilemmas both Henry Perowne (the protagonist in Saturday) and Savonarola (in Romola) have when each of them needs to make a political choice. She concluded that utilitarian solutions seem irrelevant when the life of a human being is at stake. Our third presenter, Hideo Takano (Komazawa University), talked about 'The Cross-Cultural World of "Bouddha's Tale" in Chapter 37 of Daniel Deronda’. In his reading of the novel, he argued that George Eliot has a universal-truth-seeking imagination and that leads to Deronda talking of 'the transmutation of self' in the same chapter. He concluded that George Eliot has a sense of mission as a writer which leads her to depict her protagonist as morally free to seek a better world.