This article argues that the representations of hearing play an essential role in mediating emotion, sympathy, and (anti)communitarian process in Eliot’s fictional works. I look at moments when the interface between sound and body communicates socialization or marginalization: in The Lifted Veil (1859), sound highlights the vulnerability and passivity of the individuals as opposed to the external world; in Romola (1862–63), while Baldassarre’s resistance to sound reveals his isolation, Romola’s vibration to sound communicates a more complex relationship between individual and community—though sound symbolizes historical changes that transform her into an outlier, it also connects her with her community by evoking the past. Eliot’s last novel, Daniel Deronda (1876), indicates the limitations of hearing and exposes the boundary of sympathetic vibration—by using hearing to foreshadow, legitimize, and manipulate the characters’ destinies, Eliot touches the mythical origin of emotion and puts it at the center of (anti)communitarian process.

You do not currently have access to this content.