Greatness Engendered: George Eliot and Virginia Woolf

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Cornell University Press, 1992 - Literary Criticism - 311 pages

The egotism that fuels the desire for greatness has been associated exclusively with men, according to one feminist view; yet many women cannot suppress the need to strive for greatness. In this forceful and compelling book, Alison Booth traces through the novels, essays, and other writings of George Eliot and Virginia Woolf radically conflicting attitudes on the part of each toward the possibility of feminine greatness. Examining the achievements of Eliot and Woolf in their social contexts, she provides a challenging model of feminist historical criticism.

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Contents

The Ideology of Influence and
27
Biographical Criticism
52
Eliot and Woolf as Historians of the Common Life
84
Heroism and the Selfless Ideal
130
The Heroines of Romola
168
Felix Holt
204
A Feminist
236
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About the author (1992)

Alison Booth is Professor of English at the University of Virginia and Director of the Scholars' Lab at the University of Virginia Library. She is the author of How to Make It as a Woman: Collective Biographical History from Victoria to the Present, winner of the Barbara Penny Kanner Award.

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