Special Session: George Eliot's Middlemarch
In response to the conference topic on "Landmarks," I issue a call for papers for a special session panel at the 2012 British Women Writers Conference on George Eliot's Middlemarch. Not only is Eliot a landmark woman writer who wrote an important landmark in the history of the novel, her novel itself engages issue of landmarks in a wide variety of ways. The novel engages the high culture, Classical landmarks of Greece and Rome through the comparisons of Dorothea to a new Antigone, as well as through her honeymoon trip to Rome. But these well-known figures and sites of human history and achievement are implicitly contrasted to achievements, people and epochs that are not likely to be memorialized. Perhaps no image from the novel better captures this than the ripples or the figure of concentric circles implied by the "incalculably diffusive" good that characterizes Dorothea's achievements. Her most famous novel and Eliot's work more generally have also anchored or occasioned landmark critical essays, methods or observations. As such, I aim to construct a panel that is oriented around the single text, but that dramatizes and is alive to the multitude of ways that Middlemarch and writers about that novel engage with or embody issues of landmarks.