Sunday, December 26, 2010

Eliot on "these later-born Theresas"

"That Spanish woman who lived three hundred years ago was certainly not the last of her kind.  Many Theresas have been born who found for themselves no epic life wherein there was a constant unfolding of far-resonant action; perhaps only a life of mistakes, the offspring of a certain spiritual grandeur illmatched with the meanness of opportunity; perhaps a tragic failure which found no sacred poet and sank unwept into oblivion.  With dim lights and tangled circumstance they tried to shape their thought and deed in noble agreement; but after all, to common eyes their struggles seemed mere inconsistency and formlessness; for these later-born Theresas were helped by no coherent social faith and order which could perform the function of knowledge for the willing soul. . . ."

George Eliot, Middlemarch, Prelude (Great books of the Western world, 2nd ed. (Chicago, IL:  Encyclop√¶dia Britannica, Inc., 1990), vol. 46, p. 204), italics mine.

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