“George Eliot’s Science Fiction”
by Ian Duncan
In this essay Ian Duncan tracks the strangeness of scientific language in Eliot’s fiction, showing how her recourse to comparative mythology and biology in Middlemarch and Daniel Deronda engages a conjectural history of symbolic language shared by the Victorian human and natural sciences. Troubling the formation of scientific knowledge as a progression from figural to literal usage, Eliot’s novels activate an oscillation between registers, in which linguistic events of metaphor become narrative events of organic metamorphosis.
“George Eliot’s Science Fiction” is from Representations‘ special issue Denotatively, Technically, Literally. The introduction to the issue by Elaine Freedgood and Cannon Schmitt is available online free of charge.