Heavenly Geometries | America on the Brink | Issues | The Hedgehog Review

In an 1849 letter to a friend, five years before she began to translate the Ethics, Eliot wrote, “For those who read the very words Spinoza wrote there is the same sort of interest in his style as in the conversation of a person of great capacity who has led a solitary life, and who says from his own soul what all the world is saying by rote.” In this formulation, character, philosophy, and style are inseparable. Eliot’s translation of the Ethics is significant as a major work of translation, as a key moment in the history of Spinozism, and as a means of understanding the translator’s intellectual history and the approaches to the world that would inform her novels. But it’s significant, too, as a kind of monument: In these words, a great artist gathered her powers.
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