first things first

This blog is a resolution for a new year. In this new year, I will supplement my graduate work with this blog… ideally, this forum will be a space of critique that is refreshingly non-academic. That is, at least, the plan.

I’ve called this blog “a keen vision,” not because I presume that that is what I can offer you, but in homage to a line by George Eliot (Marian Evans to her friends), in her masterpiece, Middlemarch.

Eliot writes,

If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel’s heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence. As it is, the quickest of us walk about well waddled with stupidity. (Eliot 181)

Eliot would probably say this passage is about the difficulty of understanding or sympathy. Middlemarch is a book all about misunderstanding… about how difficult it is to actually know what another person (even a person you love) is thinking about. Most of the time, we are too consumed with our own baggage to really allow ourselves to think about what is weighing down a friend.

Eliot posits ‘a keen vision’ as the ideal that we strive for but can never fully achieve. If we were to truly see and feel all ordinary human life, she says we would die. The strain would be too much, and we would (in that Eliot way) dramatically crumple under the strain of ‘the roar.’

The great part about an ideal is that it’s meant to be strived for but not achieved. This blog is my attempt at such a striving.

– e.a.


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