International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

The Maintenance of Social Body George Eliot’s Humanitarian Paternalism
Tahira Jabeen

This article elaborates the idea of paternalism as a governing authority presented by George Eliot in her novels Adam Bede, Middlemarch and Felix Holt. For this purpose, it tries to find out how changing economical, social and political practices, in the nineteenth century brought a decline to the governing authority through so called liberty (i.e. laissez faire and Utilitarianism) and as a result, how Victorians yearned for a fatherly authority to govern them. Eliot is one of those writers, who depicted the problems afflicting workers, and suggested reforms to improve the condition of society. The article tries to indicate that she, like other contemporary writers, felt the dwindling government authority and created her own world in her fictional stories where the society can comply with and overcome social evils. Moreover, the article seeks that how her concerns were influenced by her contemporary social theorist Thomas Carlyle who advocated for the workers during 1830s and 1840s.

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