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Episode 85: “Silas Marner” by George Eliot, Ch. 10-15

Welcome to this episode of The Literary Life Podcast, in which our hosts discuss George Eliot’s book Silas Marner, chapters 10-15. Thomas kicks off the discussion by highlighting the character of Dolly Winthrop. Angelina talks about Silas Marner opening himself to grace in these chapters. She also points out the way that Eliot uses Godfrey’s character to point out our own potential lack of moral courage. Cindy points out the problem of addiction for Molly in causing her to neglect her own baby. Angelina also talks about the Rumpelstiltskin parallels and other fairy tale elements in the book thus far.

Don’t forget to head over to to find out all about the exciting line-up for our next Literary Life Online Conference, happening April 7-10, 2021 with special guest speaker Wes Callihan.

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Commonplace Quotes:

Idleness is a disease which must be combated; but I would not advise a rigid adherence to a particular plan of study. I myself have never persisted in any plan for two days together. A man ought to read just as inclination leads him; for what he reads as a task will do him little good. A young man should read five hours in a day, and so may acquire a great deal of knowledge.

Samuel Johnson

Philosophy, like medicine, has a great number of drugs, and precious few genuine remedies.

Nicolas Chamfort

The feudal ownership of land did bring dignity, whereas the modern ownership of moveables is reducing us again to a nomadic horde. We are reverting to the civilization of luggage, and historians of the future will note how the middle classes accreted possessions without taking root in the earth, and may find in this the secret of their imaginative poverty.

E. M. Forster

On My First Daughter

by Ben Johnson

Here lies, to each her parents’ Ruth,
Mary, the daughter of their youth;
Yet all heaven’s gifts being heaven’s due,
It makes the father less to rue.
At six months’ end she parted hence
With safety of her innocence;
Whose soul heaven’s queen, whose name she bears,
In comfort of her mother’s tears,
Hath placed amongst her virgin-train:
Where, while that severed doth remain,
This grave partakes the fleshly birth;
Which cover lightly, gentle earth!

Book List:

The Year of Our Lord, 1943 by Alan Jacobs

The Life of Samuel Johnson by James Boswell

Complete Maxims and Thoughts by Nicolas Chamfort

Howard’s End by E. M. Forster

The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot

The History of the Devil by Daniel Defoe

Sir Roger de Coverley by Joseph Addison

Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray

Middlemarch by George Eliot

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë

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  • Angela Womack

    Prince Darling from The Blue Fairy book by Andrew Lang tells the story of a prince with a ring that pricks him when he does a bad deed.

  • Veronica

    When you were talking about the figurative death and rebirth in the coal box and Silas dealing with Molly’s death in the place of the child, I couldn’t help but see a lot of Baptismal imagery. Christ took on the death of sin for us so that we might be free from it. Baptism is how we enter in to His salvation, by both the death and rebirth and by the being washed clean. There is also the image of being clothed in the Baptismal garment, and the fact that you shouldn’t want to go back to the way you were before. So this could also be foreshadowing Silas’s return to faith, and his brining the child with him.

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