Silas Marner, Catalepsy, and Mid-Victorian Medicine: Eliot’s Ethics of Care

Willis, M. 2015. Silas Marner, Catalepsy, and Mid-Victorian Medicine: Eliot’s Ethics of Care. Journal of Victorian Culture. 20 (3), pp. 326-340. https://doi.org/10.1080/13555502.2015.1046906

TitleSilas Marner, Catalepsy, and Mid-Victorian Medicine: Eliot’s Ethics of Care
TypeJournal article
AuthorsWillis, M.
Abstract

‘Silas Marner, Catalepsy, and Mid-Victorian Medicine’ reads Eliot's novel Silas Marner through the history of medicine, and particularly in the context of Marner's strange cataleptic trances which embody his alienation and suffering. Eliot, I argue, employs catalepsy in order to investigate ideas of illness and care, especially as that relates to professional medicine and to ideas of community. Focusing on cataleptic case histories and on Eliot's personal health concerns I show how issues of care become philosophical questions about ethical responsibility. It is through Silas Marner and his catalepsy, I conclude, that Victorian scholars can come to understand more about what that means within Eliot's canon and, more widely, in the mid-Victorian period. Overall, the article provides a unique reading of Silas Marner, drawing on significant new archival research on catalepsy and in Eliot's writing of illness narratives.

JournalJournal of Victorian Culture
Journal citation20 (3), pp. 326-340
ISSN1355-5502
Year2015
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/13555502.2015.1046906
Web address (URL)https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13555502.2015.1046906
Publication dates
Published online04 Jun 2015
Published in print01 Sep 2015

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Permalink - https://westminsterresearch.westminster.ac.uk/item/969z3/silas-marner-catalepsy-and-mid-victorian-medicine-eliot-s-ethics-of-care


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