Abstract

It is wonderfully clear from recent work that as George Eliot rapidly approaches her bicentenary, she matters more than ever. In reading her, many of the scholars reviewed here are inclined to point out the gender inequities she experienced in life (pay inequity, for example) or the inaccuracy of gendered assumptions about her life and work which have gone unchallenged. From the ecology of Middlemarch to the character of Eliot as “Editress” of The Westminster Review, recent scholars have brought a new George Eliot into the twenty-first century, challenging old dogma (even the once sacred “death of the author”) along the way. While new attention has been paid to George Eliot's individual work as an editor, new approaches also tend to place her in the field of cultural production, often among other women, stressing the collective, social nature of women's professional experiences in, for example, the British Library's Round Reading Room, or on staff at periodicals. The now venerable field of periodical studies as well as the recent digitization of materials has facilitated a new feminist scholarship that digs deep into the collective experiences of being a professional woman writer in the Victorian period.

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