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29

Middlemarch and Everybody

5
terms
4
notes

Smith, Z. (2009). Middlemarch and Everybody. In Smith, Z. Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays. The Penguin Press HC, pp. 29-41

32

The young Eliot could exult only in the perfect truths we glean from certain books in our libraries; the mature Eliot had learned to have sympathy for the stumbling errors of human beings. [...]

this fits perfectly into my theories about being an adult! also into killing your heroes

about George Eliot

—p.32 by Zadie Smith 4 years, 6 months ago

The young Eliot could exult only in the perfect truths we glean from certain books in our libraries; the mature Eliot had learned to have sympathy for the stumbling errors of human beings. [...]

this fits perfectly into my theories about being an adult! also into killing your heroes

about George Eliot

—p.32 by Zadie Smith 4 years, 6 months ago
33

[...] With a scalpel Eliot dissects degrees of human velleity, finding the conscious ction hidden within the impulse hiden within the desire hidden within the will tucked away deep inside the decision that we have obfuscated even from ourselves. (She is very modern in this; she articulates the obsessive circles of self-consciousness and self-deception as sharply as that other master of diffusion, David Foster Wallace. Or maybe we should say that David Foster Wallace is very Victorian.) [...]

—p.33 by Zadie Smith 4 years, 6 months ago

[...] With a scalpel Eliot dissects degrees of human velleity, finding the conscious ction hidden within the impulse hiden within the desire hidden within the will tucked away deep inside the decision that we have obfuscated even from ourselves. (She is very modern in this; she articulates the obsessive circles of self-consciousness and self-deception as sharply as that other master of diffusion, David Foster Wallace. Or maybe we should say that David Foster Wallace is very Victorian.) [...]

—p.33 by Zadie Smith 4 years, 6 months ago

(noun) the lowest degree of volition / (noun) a slight wish or tendency; inclination

33

With a scalpel Eliot dissects degrees of human velleity

I thought it had something to do with being veiled lol

—p.33 by Zadie Smith
uncertain
4 years, 6 months ago

With a scalpel Eliot dissects degrees of human velleity

I thought it had something to do with being veiled lol

—p.33 by Zadie Smith
uncertain
4 years, 6 months ago
35

[...] All her people are striving toward the fullest truth, the least partial good. Except when Eliot thought of striving, she had more in mind than Austen's hope of happy marriages, or Dickens's dream of resolved mysteries. She was thinking of Spinoza's kind of striving, conatus. From Spinoza, Eliot took the idea that the good we strive for should be nothing more than "what we certainly know will be useful to us," not a fixed point, no specific moral system, not, properly speaking, a morality at all. It cannot be found in the pursuit of transcendental reward, as Dorothea believes it to be, or in one's ability to conform to a set of rules, as Lydgate attempts when he submits to a conventional marriage. Instead, wise men pursue what is best in and best for their own natures. They think of the good as a dynamic, unpredictable combination of forces, different, in practice, for each of us. It's that principle that illuminates Middlemarch. Like Spinoza's wise men, Eliot's people aer always seeking to match what is good in themselves in joyful combinations with other good things in the world. [...]

—p.35 by Zadie Smith 4 years, 6 months ago

[...] All her people are striving toward the fullest truth, the least partial good. Except when Eliot thought of striving, she had more in mind than Austen's hope of happy marriages, or Dickens's dream of resolved mysteries. She was thinking of Spinoza's kind of striving, conatus. From Spinoza, Eliot took the idea that the good we strive for should be nothing more than "what we certainly know will be useful to us," not a fixed point, no specific moral system, not, properly speaking, a morality at all. It cannot be found in the pursuit of transcendental reward, as Dorothea believes it to be, or in one's ability to conform to a set of rules, as Lydgate attempts when he submits to a conventional marriage. Instead, wise men pursue what is best in and best for their own natures. They think of the good as a dynamic, unpredictable combination of forces, different, in practice, for each of us. It's that principle that illuminates Middlemarch. Like Spinoza's wise men, Eliot's people aer always seeking to match what is good in themselves in joyful combinations with other good things in the world. [...]

—p.35 by Zadie Smith 4 years, 6 months ago

Dutch philosopher of Sephardi/Portuguese origin; in Ethics, laid groundwork for the 18th-century Enlightenment and modern biblical criticism, including modern conceptions of the self and the universe

35

She was thinking of Spinoza's kind of striving, conatus.

embarassingly, I don't think I've heard of him before

—p.35 by Zadie Smith
unknown
4 years, 6 months ago

She was thinking of Spinoza's kind of striving, conatus.

embarassingly, I don't think I've heard of him before

—p.35 by Zadie Smith
unknown
4 years, 6 months ago

means effort, endeavor, impulse, inclination, tendency, undertaking striving; in early philosophies of psychology and metaphysics, is an innate inclination of a thing to continue to exist and enhance itself

35

She was thinking of Spinoza's kind of striving, conatus

—p.35 by Zadie Smith
notable
4 years, 6 months ago

She was thinking of Spinoza's kind of striving, conatus

—p.35 by Zadie Smith
notable
4 years, 6 months ago

(verb) build / (verb) establish / (verb) to instruct and improve especially in moral and religious knowledge; uplift / (verb) enlighten inform

35

Fred's would seem the least edifying.

—p.35 by Zadie Smith
notable
4 years, 6 months ago

Fred's would seem the least edifying.

—p.35 by Zadie Smith
notable
4 years, 6 months ago
38

[...] This is not biblical morality but practical morality: Fred has done something wrong in the world, and his true punishment lies not in the next world but in this one. [...]

about someone finding morality as a result of loving someone and thus seeing himself through her eyes. just thought it was a nice sentence that also happens to cunningly undermine biblical morality

—p.38 by Zadie Smith 4 years, 6 months ago

[...] This is not biblical morality but practical morality: Fred has done something wrong in the world, and his true punishment lies not in the next world but in this one. [...]

about someone finding morality as a result of loving someone and thus seeing himself through her eyes. just thought it was a nice sentence that also happens to cunningly undermine biblical morality

—p.38 by Zadie Smith 4 years, 6 months ago

(borrowed from French) a comment or brief reference that makes an illuminating or entertaining point

38

a sage little aperçu occurs to him

—p.38 by Zadie Smith
notable
4 years, 6 months ago

a sage little aperçu occurs to him

—p.38 by Zadie Smith
notable
4 years, 6 months ago