"Books with more in them" : reading and imagination in the novels of George Eliot.
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Assink, Jessica L.
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This thesis examines the connections between reading and the imagination in George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss, Middlemarch, and Daniel Deronda. The ideal imagination, for Eliot, is both sympathetic and reality-infused, which is a result of her continuous attention to sympathy and realism in her fiction and nonfiction. Although Eliot’s characters struggle to implement this ideal imagination, they learn, through their reading and their experiences, how to use their imaginations to connect with others and to live with an awareness of their circumstances. Through the lives of Maggie Tulliver, Dorothea Brooke, and Daniel Deronda, Eliot encourages reading as a way to extend experience and imagination as a tool to make well-informed, conscientious decisions.