“The only effect I ardently long to produce by my writings is that those who read them should be better able to imagine and to feel the pains and the joys of those who differ from themselves.”

WHAT IS IT ABOUT MIDDLEMARCH?

George Eliot’s take on fatuous female authors (and more) in this article about Eliot’s goodness.

“The author then describes the many literary offenses these fatuous females commit. They are incompetent at verisimilitude: ‘Their intellect seems to have the peculiar impartiality of reproducing both what they have seen and heard, and what they have not seen and heard, with equal unfaithfulness.’ They are as unoriginal, stylewise, as teenage girls cozily wearing one another’s clothes: ‘The lover has a manly breast; minds are redolent of various things; hearts are hollow.’ They have the audacity to pronounce on important matters, as if ‘an amazing ignorance, both of science and of life, is the best possible qualification for forming an opinion on the knottiest moral and speculative questions.’ Such allegations continue apace, until, eventually, the author provides a Silly Lady Novel recipe: ‘Take a woman’s head, stuff it with a smattering of philosophy and literature chopped small, and with false notions of society baked hard, let it hang over a desk a few hours every day, and serve up hot in feeble English when not required.'”

MIDDLEMARCH AND ME

“In the subsequent decades, just about every love affair I had was refracted through Middlemarch.”

MIDDLEMARCH REVIEW FROM 1873

“Eliot’s maxim–“Know thyself and things in general”–she has taken profoundly to heart, and as a result we have a body of what might be called sympathetic erudition such as no one else ever dreamed of. History, science, art, literature, language, she is mistress of. Upon all these fields she draws. Human life, however, is her interest; in this all her studies centre. Her observation is always beginning, never ending. Certainly if writers are divided as Goethe somewhere suggests into those who are born to say some one thing, to produce some single literary flower and die, and those whose life is one constant development, like that of Nature herself, in which education and production go on side by side to the end, George Eliot would be included in the latter class.”

God as Tyrant

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Seamstresses by Frank Holl

“While I regarded God as a tyrant I thought my sin a trifle; But when I knew Him to be my Father, then I mourned that I could ever have kicked against Him. When I thought God was hard, I found it easy to sin; but when I found God so kind, so good, so overflowing with compassion, I smote upon my breast to think that I could ever have rebelled against One who loved me so, and sought my good.” C. H. Spurgeon

LINK: SLAVES OF THE NEEDLE

Battle of the British Photography Babes

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In this corner the ugly duckling of her family with the nickname “Talent.” Julia Cameron was given her first camera in her 40’s. The rest is history. “I longed to arrest all the beauty that came before me and at length the longing has been satisfied.” Julia Cameron

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For more info about this talented artist:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/01/julia-margaret-cameron_n_3832126.html

http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/j/julia-margaret-cameron-working-methods/

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And in this corner Lady Clementina Hawarden (it is suggested that her immune system was weakened by constant contact with the photographic chemicals causing her death).

Francesca Spickernell, photography specialist at Bonhams, said: “It was pioneering for a woman to be taking photos like this at this point in the 19th century. Her output was prolific and she won awards for her work. She struck out into areas and depicted moods unknown to the art photographers of her age.”

For more info about this talented artist:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/culturepicturegalleries/9854840/Lady-Clementina-Hawarden-one-of-Britains-first-female-photographers.html?frame=2473604

http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/l/lady-clementina-hawarden/

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And who wins the prize? Anyone willing to be judge?