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"To Stand before Him, is Like Standing before a Prophet of God": Vocation and Proto-Zionism in Daniel Deronda
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This essay explores different types of vocations in George Eliot's Daniel Deronda. Firstly, the essay explores the vocation that is associated with leading the nation (like Mordecai's and Daniel's vocations); secondly, some of the characters' artistic vocations, and Daniel's search for a profession; and thirdly, the vocation that consists of good deeds in everyday life (like Gwendolen's decision to take care of her family). Eliot's novel stresses the importance of duty and complete dedication in these types of vocations. Furthermore, the essay elaborates on the central role sympathy plays in Daniel Deronda, and on the novel's underlying ethical value system. Besides these themes, the essay explores how the depiction of tuberculosis is romanticized.

The major part of the essay is devoted to Mordecai's and Daniel's Zionist vocation. The tension between Jewish nationalism and assimilation, and between a religious and a secular world-view is analysed. Particularly, the meeting at the "Philosophers" club, where Mordecai, due to his spirituality and fervent Zionism, challenges existing notions of the benefits of assimilation, is highlighted. Even if Mordecai's Kabbalism and belief in reincarnation differ from mainstream Judaism, his arguments for founding a Jewish state reflect contemporary ideas of many Jews. The essay analyses the relation between proto-Zionism and Judaism, and explains the social and historical contexts, from the perspective of the characters.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 41 p.
National Category
General Literature Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-131746OAI: diva2:942229
2016-06-03, E 803, Universitetsvägen 10, Stockholm, 09:00 (English)
Available from: 2016-06-23 Created: 2016-06-23 Last updated: 2016-06-27Bibliographically approved

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