‘Daniel Deronda’ as Tragi-Comedy

This article was published in Essays in Criticism 59 (2009), 302-323, and is presented here in a pre-edited version.

‘Daniel Deronda’ as Tragi-Comedy

Abstract

This article considers the relation between the two plots of ‘Daniel Deronda’ in relation to both scapegoating (arguing that Gwendolen is to some extent a victim of the novel’s ethical agenda), and genre (arguing that the novel as a whole is a tragi-comedy, in which the fault line between its Gentile quasi-tragedy and its Jewish comedy constites an ethical problem of which both the novel and Daniel are both uncomfortably aware).