Abstract

Although critics have long insisted on the radical differences between the works of George Eliot and Dickens, and George Eliot (and her partner, G. H. Lewes) mounted a strong attack on Dickens's writing (with, of course, qualifications for his extravagant genius) in order to promote George Eliot's kind of fiction writing, there are important similarities between the two writers that are fundamental to the condition of writing novels in the Victorian era. Both write long multiplot fictions; both imagine individual lives as bound up in complex social webs; both achieve their “realism” by the way of extravagant, fairy-tale like manipulations of plot. Despite a critical tradition that tended to oppose them, admiration for one does not exclude admiration for the other.

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