George Eliot's Religious Imagination

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ISBN 978-0-8101-3590-1

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ISBN 978-0-8101-3589-5

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ISBN 978-0-8101-3588-8
Publication Date
February 2018
Page Count
192 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9

George Eliot's Religious Imagination

A Theopoetics of Evolution
Marilyn Orr

George Eliot's Religious Imagination addresses the much-discussed question of Eliot’s relation to Christianity in the wake of the sociocultural revolution triggered by the spread of theories of evolution. The standard view is that the author of Middlemarch and Silas Marner “lost her faith” at this time of religious crisis. Orr argues for a more nuanced understanding of the continuity of Eliot’s work, as one not shattered by science, but shaped by its influence.

Orr’s wide-ranging and fascinating analysis situates George Eliot in the fertile intellectual landscape of the nineteenth century, among thinkers as diverse as Ludwig Feuerbach, David Strauss, and Søren Kierkegaard. She also argues for a connection between George Eliot and the twentieth-century evolutionary Christian thinker Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Her analysis draws on the work of contemporary philosopher Richard Kearney as well as writers on mysticism, particularly Karl Rahner.

The book takes an original look at questions many believe settled, encouraging readers to revisit George Eliot’s work. Orr illuminates the creative tension that still exists between science and religion, a tension made fruitful through the exercise of the imagination. Through close readings of Eliot's writings, Orr demonstrates how deeply the novelist's religious imagination continued to operate in her fiction and poetry
About the Author

MARILYN ORR is professor emerita of English at Laurentian University in Ontario.

"Marilyn Orr is one of the few literary scholars to address so directly the religious themes in George Eliot’s fiction. Orr’s intellectual range is impressive and offers a unique contribution to George Eliot scholarship." —Peter Crafts Hodgson, author of The Mystery Beneath the Real: Theology in the Fiction of George Eliot

"Recommended." —CHOICE Reviews