Open Educational Resources

George Eliot's Microscope by Emelia Hamilton-Russell

This article explores the links between the nineteenth century microscope and George Eliot’s realist fiction. Focusing on Middlemarch, the article explores the ways in which the techniques of the microscopist mirror those of the realist author: engaging with larger object by magnifying the minutiae of its parts. By directly comparing workings of Dr Lydgate’s microscope with the way the narrator of Middlemarch uses free indirect discourse to inhabit and explain characters’ innermost thoughts, the article will demonstrate how the unique capabilities of the microscope – its ability to open up alternative ways of seeing – act as a metaphor for both the limits and possibilities of realism.

Date created: 
Friday, May 24, 2019
Attribution for this resource:
George Eliot's Microscope by Emelia Hamilton-Russell, All rights reserved.