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IgnoranceLiterature and Agnoiology$
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Andrew Bennett

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780719074875

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719074875.001.0001

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Our ignorance of others: Middlemarch and Great Expectations

Our ignorance of others: Middlemarch and Great Expectations

Chapter:
(p.100) 5 Our ignorance of others: Middlemarch and Great Expectations
Source:
Ignorance
Author(s):

Andrew Bennett

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719074875.003.0006

This chapter focuses on the ignorance of others that can be found in Charles Dickens's Great Expectations and George Eliot's Middlemarch, which are considered to be two of the most fully achieved and most commonly discussed English novels from the mid-nineteenth century. It grounds the discussion on an observation on the self-evident fact that one knows others through the ‘subtler movements of the body’. The chapter reveals that this strategy can be found in these two novels, in which ‘realism’ may be said to be indirectly related to the modern documentary at certain important points. It also aims to identify the different ways hands serve as signifiers of personhood, and studies what this might tell about the saving knowledge of others.

Keywords:   ignorance of others, movements of body, realism, modern documentary, hands, personhood, Great Expectations, Middlemarch

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