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George Eliot and the British Empire by Nancy Henry

Nancy Henry‘s George Eliot and the British Empire was originally published by Cambridge University Press in 2002 (a paperback version was issued in 2006).

In this innovative study Nancy Henry introduces new facts that place George Eliot’s life and work within the contexts of mid-nineteenth-century British colonialism and imperialism. She examines Eliot’s roles as an investor in colonial stocks, a parent to emigrant sons, and a reader of colonial literature. She highlights the importance of these contexts to our understanding of Eliot’s fiction and her position within Victorian culture. The book also reexamines the assumptions of postcolonial criticism about Victorian fiction and its relation to empire.

This study offers new biographical information about George Eliot. Henry re-examines the assumptions of postcolonial criticism about Victorian fiction and its relation to empire.

“Henry’s skillful interweaving of biographical, textural, and cultural criticism enables us to see George Eliot and her work in fresh, new ways.” Canadian Woman Studies

“Henry fully delivers on her promise to present ‘a new Eliot,’ demonstrating the centrality of empire to Eliot’s life an literary practice.” Victorian Periodicals Review

“Refreshing and rewarding…” Victorians Institute Journal

“This is a timely and necessary book and its attack on post-colonial readings of Eliot is cogent and to me persuasive…this book is clearly a significant contribution to Eliot studies.” George Eliot-George Henry Lewes Studies

“Drawing on various sources, including essays, reviews, letters, journals, and records of investments, she offers a new lens through which to view Eliot and her fiction. Especially significant is her challenge to Edward Said’s postcolonial reading of ^Daniel Deronda, the basis of his characterization of Eliot as a proponent of an ideology of imperialism…Valuable for its fresh focus.” Choice

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