Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours


School of Language, Literature and Media Studies


Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences


This thesis offers an interpretation of George Eliot's novel, Middlemarch, which focuses on the historical qualities of Eliot's writing. The thesis invites the need to challenge earlier interpretations of the novel and to develop new theories about the text. The main focus of this research is to show Eliot's presentation of the fear of diminishing fortunes within Middlemarch society. Historical materials are used to verify Eliot's portrayal of the past in Middlemarch. To supplement this, secondary historical sources with a traditional approach will be challenged by recent historical material to ascertain whether Eliot's Middlemarch is a true portrayal of the fear of diminishing fortunes in mid Victorian England. The thesis then argues that the traditional conservative element in society contributed to the stability and eliminated the fear of diminishing fortunes. Traditionalism is shown to govern Middlemarch society. Furthermore, the relationship between industrialization and the fear of diminishing fortunes is assessed. In addition, the thesis contends that there existed a relationship between classes. Conclusions are drawn on the manner in which the author establishes the existence of a fear of diminishing fortunes in the society of Middlemarch.