From “shattered mummies” to “an epic life”: Casaubon’s key to all mythologies and Dorothea’s mythic renewal in George Eliot’sMiddlemarch
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The emergence over the course of George Eliot’sMiddlemarch of Dorothea Brooke as a new sort of epic hero clearly has much to do with her character’s starting point in an ill-suited marriage to the elderly cleric Edward Casaubon. The present paper argues that Casaubon’s unachieved life’s work,The Key to All Mythologies, functions very precisely in the novel as a textual, mythic figure against which, and even through which, Dorothea’s new character is defined.
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