Adam Bede’s Dutch Realism and the Novelist’s Point of View

Rebecca Ruth Gould

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


In her first novel, Adam Bede (1859), George Eliot offered the first systematic defense of her literary aesthetic. Eliot turned to early modern Dutch painting to justify her choice to render the quotidian life of the non-elite, and thereby provocatively extended philosophical and literary approaches to representation. Whereas Hegel's wariness toward the Dutch painterly aesthetic participates in modern philosophy's quest to transcend the mundane, Eliot's celebration of the mundane reveals the sublimity of everyday experience, and helps us overcome the "philosophy-as-epistemology" that, in Richard Rorty's argument, characterizes and limits modern thought.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)404-423
Number of pages20
JournalPhilosophy and Literature
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012

Bibliographical note

lead article in symposium on “George Eliot, Philosopher”


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