10 Mike Goode has pointed out that the popular image of the antiquary in the period was that of a man whose enjoyment in studying the past irresponsibly detaches him from present historical concerns, calling his manliness into question. u Because this figure represents a subversion of the historian's responsibility to contribute to the nationalist project, the antiquary becomes a figure of satire associated with different categories of abjection: femininity, impotence, infertility, the elderly, childishness, homosexuality, and even necrophilia.12 Eliot's allusions to antiquarian satire in her essay on silly women reveal an underlying popular assumption that amateur historians, historical novelists, and women are all categories that threaten to emasculate the grand historical narrative of the nation. Romola's final impression of the life of Savonarola returns to the level of shared human sensory experience: "She only saw what he was seeing - torches waving to kindle the fuel beneath his dead body, faces glaring with a yet worse light; she only heard what he was hearing - gross jests, taunts, and curses" (578-79).
George Eliot's Romola: A Historical Novel "Rather Different in Character" Kelly E Battles Philological Quarte
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