This essay uses the concepts of the pharmakos and the pharmakeus from Derrida's “Plato's Pharmacy” to describe the relationship between George Eliot's scapegoated characters and the narrators that structure her novels' systems of value. Focusing in particular on Hans Meyrick of Daniel Deronda and Theophrastus of Impressions of Theophrastus Such, this essay argues that Eliot's apparent scapegoats are not designed to affirm the moral vision of Eliot's narrators through negative exemplarity: rather, pharmakos and pharmakeus together generate a complex narrative rhetoric that cannot be reduced to an affirmation of either side's values or authority.
Pharmakos, Pharmakeus, and George Eliot's Narrative Rhetoric
matthew fellion is a writer and independent scholar living in Edinburgh. His research interests include the censorship of literature, literary realism, and concepts of “wise folly.” His book Censored: A Literary History of Subversion and Control, coauthored with Katherine Inglis, is forthcoming with British Library Publishing and McGill-Queen's University Press in 2017.
Matthew Fellion; Pharmakos, Pharmakeus, and George Eliot's Narrative Rhetoric. Novel 1 August 2017; 50 (2): 217–235. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00295132-4150239
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