Becoming a foreigner

Gwendolen Grandcourt and sites of resistance, divergence, and death in Daniel Deronda

Lee O'Brien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Drawing upon Julia Kristeva’s linking of the ideas of the foreigner with women and the state of marriage in Strangers to Ourselves, and Michel Foucault and Jay Miskowiec’s thesis in “Of Other Spaces” that apparently quite ordinary sites can contest the ideologically normative, this article looks at patterns of alienation and domestication that shape the novel. For Kristeva, the foreigner is not confined to those deemed to be the enemy or an outsider but is produced in relation to crises that threaten the autonomy of the self through social mechanisms that are known, rather than alien. Similarly, Foucault examines the “lands of exile,” of crisis and deviation, which can develop within domestic social formations. These theoretical perspectives are used to analyze the fundamental differences in the structure and outcomes of the two narrative “streams,” as George Eliot called them, of Daniel Deronda: that of Daniel himself and, the main focus of the analysis, of Gwendolen.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-124
Number of pages22
JournalGeorge Eliot - George Henry Lewes Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • George Eliot
  • Daniel Deronda
  • marriage
  • alienation
  • murder

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