Cornhill Magazine,  7 (1863), 281–309.

Romola Ch. 42–46  [9/14]

[George Eliot]


Novel, Serial


Organicism, Positivism, Morality, Gender, Reasoning, Education

    Romola's enthusiasm for the Comtean element of the teachings of Savanarola, while deliberately casting aside its 'wearisome visions and allegories', engenders in her 'a new consciousness of the great drama of human existence in which her life was a part' that affords a 'definite motive of self-denying practice' (295). However, both her benevolent godfather Bernardo del Nero and her treacherous husband Tito Melema, like the authors of the Science section in the previous number of the Cornhill [see CM1/7/2/6], comment on the supposed intellectual weakness of women. Bernardo muses, 'These women, if they are not happy, and have no children, must either take to folly or to some overstrained religion that makes them think they've got all heaven's work on their shoulders. And as for my poor child Romola, it is as I always said—the cramming with Latin and Greek has left her as much a woman as if she had done nothing all day but prick her fingers with the needle' (297). Tito questions whether his wife has 'a small amount of reason at your disposal just now' (308), and tells her, 'You fair creatures live in the clouds' (309).


Eliot 1863

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