From: Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]>

> I think it is essential to deal with the fact that Gordon's tone changed
> she learned more.  No one has yet suggested any reason why she would
> have any animus or develop any prejudice.  Scholarship, to be honest,
> must go where evidence leads, and it seems to have led her to material
> that changed her response.  There is no reason at all to assume she
> started with any prejudice, as your emphasis on the previous books shows.

It's true that 'An Imperfect Life' is more censorious than 'Eliot's Early
Years' and 'Eliot's Second Life'. In fact, there used to be a time when
Gordon could even sound defensive about Eliot's reputation (if not in print,
at least in her teaching). I think she felt under pressure after Julius and
others had launched systematic attacks on Eliot's politics, and took them
into account in 'An Imperfect Life' (rightly or wrongly is a whole debate in
What I'm trying to say here is this: any characterization of Gordon's work
as a prime example of politically correct debunking is simply wide off the
mark. She simply isn't that kind of writer.

As for Seymour-Jones: I don't intend to read the book, partly because I have
other priorities, partly because some reviewers pointed out flaws that I
regard as too serious. If she can mistake an allusion to Pater's conclusion
to the Renaissance for a reference to Vivien, she hasn't in my view done her
homework properly.


RaphaŽl Ingelbien
[log in to unmask]