Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

First Advisor

Heidt, Sarah J.


Eliot explicitly figures provincial society as a living body throughout Middlemarch. The metaphor of the body politic, once physiologically figured in this way, becomes crucial as the master trope of the novel, through which we may locate and decipher Eliot's overarching model for social behavior: exchange. Chapter I explores the difficulties of taking action within Eliot's animated body politic, and therefore tangles with one of its primary reformers, Dr. Tertius Lydgate, whose failures are elucidated anew through this physiological trope. Chapter II examines the Reverend Edward Casaubon, through whom Eliot delineates the ways in which social irresponsibility destabilizes the healthful functioning of the social organism, as well as Casaubon's own identity and wellbeing.


Includes bibliographical references: pages 88-89

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