heart_in_the_margins: (Professor)
"Surely all other leisure is hurry compared with a sunny walk through the fields from 'afternoon church,'--as sch walks used to be in those old leisurely times, when the boat, gliding sleepily along the canal, was the newest locomotive wonder; when Sunday books had most of them old brown-leather covers, and opened with remarkable precision always in one place. Leisure is gone--gone where the spinning-wheels are gone, and the pack-horses, and the slow waggons, and the pedlars who brought bargains to the door on sunny afternoons. Ingenious philosophers tell you, perhaps, that the great work of the steam-engine is to create leisure for mankind. Do not believe them: it only creates a vacuum for eager thought to rush in. Even idleness is eager now--eager for amusement: prone to excursion-trains, art-museums, periodical literature, and exciting novels: prone even to scientific theorizing, and cursory peeps through microscopes. Old Leisure was quite a different personage: he only read one newspaper, innocent of leaders, and was free from that periodicity of sensations which we call post-time." (Adam Bede 459)

This passage particularly interests me in light of the seminar paper I wrote for Prof S last semester, about Middlemarch and serial form. I'm thinking that it would be worthwhile to engage with the idea of old leisure vs. the modern "periodicity of sensations" in this passage as a way of talking about Eliot's intention in serializing Middlemarch in the form that she did. (Obviously there were financial concerns but I think that the theoretical concerns do equally bear thinking about.) This passage helps my argument because it shows that Eliot is using the serial form in a way that runs counter to the way that she considered many other uses of serial form to work. Instead of allowing individuals to remain in the graven rut of their typical serialization schedule, Middlemarch was released in segments of surprising length and with a surprising amount of distance between them, denaturalizing serialization as a way of releasing novels and requiring readers to wake up and pay attention. It's definitely something I'd want to consider in moving forward to revise this seminar paper into an article.


heart_in_the_margins: (Default)

June 2017



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