A Multiplotted Line: Dickens Project's Dr. Varese's Timeline Lesson
On January 27 and 30, Dr. Jon Varese of the Dickens Project presented a contextual-historical lesson based on George Eliot's Middlemarch to NAI seniors. As the lesson mapped out the publication history Eliot's novel alongside Dickens' own career, students investigated a wide range of issues: the implication of serialization and its impact on literacy; the democratization of reading; Dickens' status as the "first international celebrity"--a phenomenon made possible by the rare intersection of art, technology and history; Eliot's own choices to challenge a popular formula--her decision to "say No to Dickens"; Eliot's conception of beauty and how that might have impacted her own work; the "incognito" phase and the ramifications of her choice to use a pseudonym--even to the end of her life. An curious yet fascinating object emerged from this investigation of time--the tomb. Students were riveted by the details Dr. Varese relayed that paradoxically brought the authors "to life" in their imagination.
"....for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs."
Please post your take-aways from Dr. Varese's Timeline Lesson. Please relate a key idea, lesson, detail or phrase that you heard from the lesson. Then, elaborate the importance of this takeaway with its significance to your understanding of the novel and yourself, your remaining questions, and your goal as a learner and reader (200 words).