This article explores the way George Eliot represents and comments on the ethics of pride in Middlemarch through the skillful use of conventional metaphors. Probably as a result of the long-standing distinction between positive and negative types of pride in Western cultures, the linguistic construction of this two-faceted emotion in Eliot's novelistic discourse is not an arbitrary process, but arises from conventionalized mental models of pride present in her unique narrative method. This uniqueness relies on bringing to fictional encounters this author's particular sensitivity to the psychological nature of this emotion, her own mental awareness of normative behaviors, and her way of recruiting the preconditions and embodied experience of pride to the service of her rhetorical and didactic aims. But this special capacity for representing affective experience can also be seen to be situated within a larger framework of familiar conceptual metaphors that this discussion scrutinizes. This analysis involves tracing the conventionalized embodied expressions for both types of pride as deployed by Eliot within her extraordinarily effective narrative technique.
- George Eliot
- narrative method