This article revises assumptions that George Eliot's inclusion of premonitions and ghostly visions in Daniel Deronda is an aberrant foray into sensationalism for an author otherwise invested in realism. Eliot uses these anomalies in the plot to revise the concept of scientific inquiry, as defined by empirical science in the nineteenth century. Eliot revises the definitions of realism and empiricism to include phenomena that are decidedly nonempirical (or, in the words of G. H. Lewes, “extra-sensible”) and yet remain consistent with a scientific and intellectual exploration of the world. By emphasizing the measurable and real effects of “false” images, she simultaneously makes a persuasive case for the power of fiction. Empirical science (and realist fiction) must find a way to account for human perceptions of intuition and imagination, and in doing so must necessarily expand to conceive of multiple avenues to the truth.
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Research Article| October 15 2016
Brooke D. Taylor; The Science of Fiction in Daniel Deronda. George Eliot - George Henry Lewes Studies 15 October 2016; 68 (2): 116–135. doi: https://doi.org/10.5325/georelioghlstud.68.2.0116
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