In this essay, originally published anonymously in The Westminster Review (1856), George Eliot examines the state of women’s fiction in her time. She lamentingly argues that absurd and banal novels, written by well-to-do women of her time, do great disservice for the overall appreciation of women’s intellectual capacities within society.
Eliot divides ‘silly novels by lady novelists’ into several distinct categories: the mind-and-millinery species, the oracular type and the white-neck-cloth variety. She writes with characteristic sharp wit and insightful intellect in this scathing (but not unfeeling) feminist critique of ‘Silly Novels by Lady Novelists’.
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About George Eliot
George Eliot, the pen name of Mary Ann, or Marian, Evans (1819–1880), was an English Victorian novelist of the first rank. An assistant editor for the Westminster Review from 1851 to 1854, she wrote her first fiction in 1857 and her first full-length novel, Adam Bede, in 1859. In her writing, she was chiefly preoccupied with moral problems, especially the moral development and psychological analysis of her characters. She is known for her sensitive and honest depiction of life and people in works that are acclaimed as classics.
About Sarah Bacaller
Sarah Bacaller is a writer, researcher, and audiobook narrator from Melbourne, Australia.